COA questions Iloilo’s hiring of 2,307 job order employees

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    THE provincial government of Iloilo hired 2,307 job order (JO) and contract of service (CoS) workers in 2019 or 52.5 percent of the 4,393 total manpower, a move the Commission on Audit described as excessive, unnecessary and open to abuse.

    Government auditors said the hiring was not based on any staffing pattern as it was left to department heads to decide who and how many to employ without regard for wage rates, functions to be performed, or presence of regular plantilla personnel performing similar tasks.

    “There was no approved staffing pattern that show the needed number of plantilla personnel, CoS workers who are technical experts or with specialized skills and JO workers.

    The hiring of JO/CoS workers appears discretionary on the department heads …as long as the budget permit, without limits, ceiling or control,” the audit team said.

    The provincial government’s Human Resources officer claimed the expected functions and deliverables of those hired were discussed with the department heads and the salary grade were determined based on comparable positions.

    The COA noted that the provincial government has been previously notified of the need to review its organizational structure to evaluate the manpower needs of all departments and divisions to ensure optimum delivery of service to its constituent.

    “Verification of the status of implementation of the above recommendations disclosed that none was implemented. This existing practice is open to abuse that might result in engaging unnecessary or excessive workers for political or personal accommodation and eventually wastage of government funds,” it pointed out.

    Auditors also highlighted the fact that the number of JO/CoS hired has been on a steady rise over the years – from 1,928 in 2017, 2,137 in 2018 to 2,307 last year.

    During review of the accomplishment reports of the JO/CoS personnel, the audit team found they were not informed of any specific functions, output or deliverables.

    Some were designated as data encoders, administrative and logistics assistants, data controller or Bids and Awards Committee support staff and were paid between P5,000 to P1,590 even if they were performing routine administrative and clerical works.

    There were also “sports trainers” and “strengthening or conditioning coaches” who got year-long contracts even if the province had no regular program of activities.

    It was further discovered that there were JO/CoS workers who were not stationed in the Iloilo Provincial Capitol as they were found to be reporting to different municipalities or other offices.

    Audit of sample disbursement vouchers revealed the payroll was not supported by daily time records that would have shown if the JO or CoS were actually reporting for work.