Butuan mayor starts filling contractual jobs

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/23 August) —  Nearly a thousand “job order” workers of the city will no longer return to their offices following the expiration of their contracts on July 31.

Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr has started to accept new applicants for their replacement.

Luz Dumanon , city’s human resource management division (HRMD) chief, said
around 235  new contractual workers were recently  hired to replace those employees whose  expired contract under the “job order’ status  were not renewed by the mayor after July 31.

She added that these newly-hired workers belong to the first batch of applicants who would replace 987 employees whose job contracts had expired.

Dumanon said only a few of the expired contracts would be retained.

Earlier, Mayor Amante had announced the streamlining of the city’s bureaucracy  to sustain their operational expenses within the six-month period. He said City Hall’s employees were “bloated” and there’s a need to cut down on the number of employees.

“I want to have a corporate set up where everyone (employees) in City Hall should deliver. We have small resources but we should maximize our human resources so can save up so much”. Amante told reporters .

Dumanon said the city government has 935 regular employees including six teachers and a medical staff funded under the special education fund. She added that it can accommodate a total of 2,270 employees including JOs, casuals, co-terminus, electives, contractual and consultants.

Records at the HRMD show  that of 987 “Job Order (JO)” workers during the administration of former Mayor Democrito Plaza II, 900 of them were previously holder of casual plantilla for 10 to 15 years but downgraded to status of JO basis due to reduction of the city’s internal revenue allotment (IRA) in 2008.

“Since they served the city for several decades, instead of resorting to mass layoff, it was then agreed for their retention but they cannot enjoy employment benefits since their status have been re-classified from plantilla to job order,”  Dumanon told MindaNews.

The city government’s IRA was reportedly reduced by P70 million after the creation of 16 new cities, three of them in Caraga region:  Tandag in Surigao del Sur, Cabadbaran in Agusan del Norte and Bayugan in Agusan del Sur.  Butuan belongs to highly urbanized city category.

The HRMO Chief, however, assured that their previous payable earned leaves reaching a total amount of P5 million would be released to them but on staggered basis. As JO workers, Dumanon said their salaries were based on services they rendered.

In 2009, the Plaza administration appropriated  the  P5 million but the release of payment was  pending as a result of the 2010 “transition” government from the previous administration to Amante, according to Dumanon.

The city’s web site posts  the salary rates of JO workers at P240, P260, and P283 to P311 per day depending on the nature of their assignment and skills since 2009.

Meanwhile,  Gemma Reserva, the wife of Agusan del Norte Board Member James Reserva, was appointed new chief of the City General Services Office while Ruth Jugao, chief of staff of former Agusan del Norte 2nd district  Rep. Edelmiro Amante, is the new chief of  City Economic Enterprise Division.

Dumanon said Reserva and Jugao were also appointed as heads of the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) and the City Manpower Training Service (CMTS), respectively. She said the two had served as Amante’s special operation officers for less than a month prior to their appointment as chief of offices.

Mayor Amante’s executive assistant, Eugene Prisco, was also appointed to head the City Information Technology Department.

Fred Radaza, former Land Transportation and Traffic Management Office Chief, is being recommend as chief of the city’s premium bus terminal under the CEED.

Dumanon said the LTTMO chief and the City Accountant Office (CAO) were declared by the
city government as vacant positions.

Acting City Accountant Antonietta Abella and State Auditor James Misael Almendralejo of the Commission on Audit applied for the CAO position. (Alden Pantaleon Jr./MindaNews)