Misamis Oriental

Misamis Oriental legislators mum as COA frowns on 700 temporary workers, wage collector

Cong Corrales

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Misamis Oriental legislators mum as COA frowns on 700 temporary workers, wage collector

IN SESSION. The Misamis Oriental provincial board holds a regular session.

Jigjag Pelaez FB page

State auditors say the provincial board's 737 temporary workers cost Misamis Oriental P75.4 million in 2022 alone

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Misamis Oriental’s legislators remained tight-lipped as state auditors spotlighted their engagement of over 700 temporary workers in 2022, alongside the contentious practice of designating a lone wage collector for some of the workers.

In its 2022 audit report, the Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the “necessity and reasonableness” of the hiring of 737 “job order” workers or JOs which cost Misamis Oriental P75.4 million last year.

Job order workers are people hired on a temporary or contractual basis to perform specific tasks or projects for a government organization.

“(It) is dubious due to the actual functions performed by these JOs which do not fit the definition of a job order,” the COA report read in part.

The provincial board has kept mum about the matter in public or during their sessions. Rappler repeatedly tried to ask for comments from at least two provincial board members – Gerardo Sabal III and Dexter Yasay – but not one of them responded. In a phone call on Monday, August 14, Sabal declined to be interviewed because he was supposedly preparing for a meeting.

They did not respond to text messages sent to them on Thursday, August 17.

Neither Misamis Oriental Vice Governor Jeremy Jonahmar “Jigjag” Pelaez nor any of his staff was available when Rappler went to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on Wednesday, August 16.

In the audit report, a copy of which was sent to Misamis Oriental Governor Peter Unabia on June 6 by COA-Northern Mindanao director Mathew Magno, state auditors pointed out the duplication of functions in the provincial board and the “non-submission of individual accomplishment reports, organizational structure, and staffing pattern.”

The COA said the hiring of 737 job order workers went against the guidelines set by the Civil Service Commission (CSC), COA rules, and the Local Government Code, thus, “affecting the regularity and necessity of hiring JOs and payment of their wages.” 

State auditors also urged the provincial officials to exercise “due prudence” in hiring temporary workers to avoid unnecessary and excessive spending. 

The officials can avoid this, COA added, by limiting the hiring of contractual workers, especially if their services are not required.

Auditors also advised the officials to coordinate or delegate the screening and selection of job order workers to the Provincial Human Resource and Management Office because it can properly determine the merit, fitness, and qualifications of workers.

The COA also recommended that the provincial board require its job order workers to personally prepare their daily time records and submit detailed accomplishment reports.

It called out the provincial board for allowing only one person to collect the wages of some of these job order workers. The report did not identify the collector.

“The wages of some of the JOs hired in the Office of the SP totaling P4.496 million were not claimed directly by them but were claimed and collected by a person with Special Power of Attorney,” the COA report reads.

State auditors said such a practice went against government audit rules.

“Stop the practice of allowing another person to claim and collect the salaries of the JOs and the transfer of cash from one person to another in order to protect government funds from possible losses,” read a part of the report.

In the 2022 audit report, the COA also flagged the capitol’s hiring of 37 consultants from January to June last year, which cost the provincial government more than P6 million.

State auditors found out that the consultants were “not prudently evaluated since their services were already undertaken by existing (local government) personnel, while three of them performed services that were not highly technical in nature.”

The audit report pointed out that the hiring of consultants doing redundant functions resulted in the provincial government incurring “unnecessary expenditures.”

It recommended that the Capitol instruct its department heads to incorporate the need for individual consultants in their respective Project Procurement and Management Plan and to make sure that these consultants meet the qualifications set under the Government Procurement Reform Act. – Rappler.com

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