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Atty. Dugay of CSC discussed “endo” for workers in the government

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by Hadji C. Jalotjot

Contractualization in the country’s labor sector recently received special attention due to President Duterte’s order to end such practice. Though commonly observed in the private sector, contractualization also occurs in government offices in the form of job orders (JOs) or contract-of-service (COS) with individuals or institutions. Different sets of rules and regulations administered by separate government agencies govern labor practices in the country. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) oversees the private sector while the Civil Service Commission (CSC) oversees the labor and employment in the government.

To complement the previous seminar on contractualization in the private sector, the Center for Strategic Planning and Policy Studies (CSPPS) of CPAf organized a policy seminar, this time on contractualization in the government sector. Entitled “A Perspective on Job Contractualization: From Policy to Reality,” the seminar was held at CPAf on 3 July 2018 with Atty. Mary Grace P. Dugay, chief of Legal Services Division of CSC-National Capital Region, as the resource person.

According to Atty. Dugay, JOs and COS are not covered by the Civil Service Law and are not considered as government services as stipulated in CSC Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 40 (1998). Due to the absence of employer-employee relationship, workers under JOs or COS do not enjoy government benefits, lack social protections, and suffer from inequality. On the part of the government, there is obscure accountability from JOs/COS. In 2002, CSC MC No. 17 added provision prohibiting hiring JOs/COS to perform tasks pertaining to regular plantilla positions. This provision affected government offices as limited staff complement relative to number of clients require additional manpower. The restrictive organizational structure in the government makes it difficult to add plantilla positions, making JO/COS as the primary solution to understaffing.

The latest issuance, i.e., CSC COA and DBM Joint Circular No. 1 (2017), recognizes some of the shortcomings of the previous guidelines, especially when it comes to social protection of JO/COS workers. Among the salient provisions of this circular are: 1) registration of contract service provider in various government regulatory and benefit agency such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue, DOLE, Department of Trade and Industry, Securities and Exchange Commission, Social Security System, PAGIBIG, and PhilHealth; and 2) while workers hired through institutional contract of service remain employee of the service provider, the latter shall be responsible for providing the workers with compensation and benefits compliant with existing labor law including the necessary social security and other benefits mandated by law in addition to the direct compensation as payment for their services.

Atty. Dugay stressed that the lack of plantilla position, the bureaucratic process involving the creation or request of these positions, and even the lack of basic qualification (e.g., passing the civil service exam) of existing JO/COS workers remain as the fundamental hindrances to regular job position. “Though social protection and work benefits for these workers are ensured in the new circular, the end of contractualization in the government is nowhere in the near future,” she added.

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