Estrada claims traffic bureau has ‘ghost employees’

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Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada on Friday revealed that the city traffic office has hundreds of “ghost employees.”

“These ghost employees collect salaries without doing anything. Shame on them. If I ever find even one in city hall again, particularly in MTPB, oh, well…,” he said referring to the alleged corrupt personnel of the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB).

Estrada was actually reacting to stories which came out Thursday about hundreds of traffic enforcers complaining that they have not been receiving their salaries since June this year.

The mayor was so angry he directed MTPB chief Dennis Alcoreza to immediately get rid of the so-called “Republic Act 15-30” or ghost employees who report to city hall every 15th and 30th of the month only to collect their salaries.

To prevent the entry of ghost employees to City Hall, Alcoreza said Mayor Estrada introduced a new procedure for releasing the salaries of all MTPB personnel. Contrary to the long-time practice of releasing the salaries in cash, MTPB enforcers are now receiving checks, which require every employee to submit their Tax Identification Number (TIN) and Pag-IBIG number.

“This is the reason some traffic enforcers are complaining about the delay in the release of their salaries. Definitely, if you don’t have a TIN or a Pag-IBIG number, you cannot collect your salaries, so we’ll consider you a ghost employee,” he explained.

However, traffic enforcers interviewed Friday said the explanation is just an alibi. “Four months is too long to process our TIN and Pag-IBIG requirements. If they told us last June, we would have already complied with the requirements,” an enforcer, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals, told The Manila Times.

MTPB has about 600 job-order traffic enforcers, or those employed under a contract of service that is renewable every six months.

Alcoreza said Estrada wants every job-order employee in MTPB to have the same benefits being enjoyed by regular employees, thus the TIN and PAG-IBIG number.

Early last year, Estrada removed around 700 ghost employees whom he said were “loyalists” of his predecessor, former mayor Alfredo Lim. He said the ghost employees were all Lim’s appointees and their appointments were covered by job orders.

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