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Image Courtesy of: Senate of the Philippines

By: Junex Doronio

DESPITE YEARS OF SERVICE, job order and contract of service (Jocos) employees have not been given regular status by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which is now on the hot seat for hiring several undersecretaries and assistant secretaries who have high salaries and other perks and privileges.

“There are too many [contractual employees] at the DSWD up to now. Some of them have been there for 15 years and they’re still contractual. Have pity on them. Maybe we can make them regular employees,” Tulfo told DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian during the hearing on Wednesday, September 20, conducted by the Senate Committee on Finance on the proposed P207 million budget of the DSWD for 2024.

Of the 37,000 DSWD employees, 8,336 are Jocos.

Gatchalian sheepishly answered that the DSWD would need additional funds to regularize contractual workers.

He also claimed that all undersecretaries and assistant secretaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) had been asked to submit their courtesy resignations.

However, he has yet to act on the resignations because they are busy attending budget hearings in Congress.

Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go has asked why there are so many undersecretaries and assistant secretaries at the DSWD.

The DSWD chief said that the officials will undergo evaluation for the agency’s streamlining of the operations.

Tulfo also noted the agency’s lack of vehicles, especially those delivering pay-out money for Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) beneficiaries.

He said this exposed the employees to constant danger.

Gatchalian said that the department has already submitted numerous requests for plantilla positions to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). (ai/mnm)

Photo Screenshot from: Philippine Coast Guard‘s Facebook Video

By Junex Doronio

STRESSING THAT HABITAT DAMAGE harms ecosystems, US Ambassador Mary Kay Carlson on Tuesday expressed concern on the reported destruction of the seabed at Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) describing it as “troubling.”

“We are working with our #FriendsPartnersAllies to protect [Philippine] natural resources,” Carlson said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

It was gathered that the US this month turned over a P250-million training facility in Bulacan to the Coast Guard, where personnel would be taught navigation, law enforcement and ship maintenance.

On Monday, September 18, a furious Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri asked China to respect and protect coral reefs which takes hundreds of years to breed following reports that some Chinese vessels were engaged in massive illegal harvesting of corals in Rozul Reef located within the Philippines’ EEZ.

For its part, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also said it is seriously concerned about reports of destruction of corals in Rozul Reef.

Without mentioning China, the DFA called on “everyone concerned” to act responsibly and cease all activities that can damage the marine environment. (ai/mnm)