LEGAZPI CITY: It may not be a very bright new year for some 150 workers who stand to lose their jobs at the 1st Engineering Office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Albay. The reason? They are not residents of the areas serviced by the engineering district.
Former Albay 1st District Engineer Teodoro Castillo confirmed the termination, which he described as “ridiculous,” adding that the order came before he was reassigned to Masbate in November.
“I did not comply with the order because many of these employees are trained and experienced. It would be a costly undertaking to replace them with new ones,” Castillo said.
According to him, the termination of the workers, some of which already worked for the DPWH for more than 30 years, was due to the demand of an elected government officer who required all workers to be residents of Albay’s 1st political district.
The government officer could not immediately be contacted for comment but Infrastructure Coordinator Engr. Rose Bombales denied the allegation.
Bombales claimed that the termination and subsequent replacement of workers with a Job Order (JO) and Emergency Hired (EH) status came after complaints of massive attendance cheating surfaced. She added that the issue even reached the Civil Service Commission after a complaint against the employees was filed.
She added that many of these workers came for work late and are often doing nothing at their posts.
One of the affected employees interviewed by The Manila Times is a 55-year-old mother who requested anonymity. She claimed that she has Civil Service eligibility but remained a Job Order (JO) employee despite her 30-year stint at the DPWH.
She lamented that she remained a JO because she does not have the correct “connection” that would propel her temporary employment to a regular post and avail of the government’s rationalization program. If her employment status was converted to a regular employee status, she would have been eligible for early retirement with all the benefits.
“After all the years, I will be terminated merely because I am not a resident of the 1st District. Who would accept me for employment at this point in time?” she said.
Castillo said the employees who will be terminated in January will be replaced by residents of the 1st district.
Last November Castillo was ordered reassigned to Masbate while District Engineer Simeon Arias was ordered to assume his post.
In a separate interview, Arias said the termination of JOs and EHs won’t be drastic saying it would start with the idle and non-skilled employees. He said his office would recruit workers with technical knowledge and who are likely to perform multi-tasking duties.