Dagupan flagged over ‘excessive’ hiring, P87M JO bill

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by Allan Yves Briones

The city government of Dagupan was called to answer for its hiring practices, observed to be wasteful and “excessive” by the Commission on Audit (COA).

In the 2018 annual audit report, state auditors asked Dagupan City officials to justify the hiring of 906 job order (JO) workers.

“The practice of hiring JO’s in excess of the actual manpower needs may result to duplication of functions that could result to wastage of government funds,” COA stated in the report.

In 2018, the city government of Dagupan had 906 JOs, consisting 60 percent of its total manpower complement, which cost P87.84 million.

State auditors conceded that some hires were necessary, particularly street sweepers, security personnel, barangay nurses and traffic enforcers.

“However, there were offices whose hiring of JOs could not be considered as reasonable and thought as an expense incurred with restraint,” COA admitted.

In particular, state auditors questioned the large number of JOs at the City Mayor’s Office, City Engineering Office and Sangguniang Panlungsod with 151, 69 and 55, respectively.

A review of the monthly accomplishment reports allegedly revealed that the JOs assigned in the above offices performed tasks which the regular employees can handle on their own.

Without “substantial proof” to justify the hiring of the JOs, they are considered “excessive expenditures” as defined under COA Circular 2012-003.

COA ordered the city government of Dagupan to stop designating JOs whose tasks can be performed by its regular employees, and instructed the local human resource management officer to strengthen internal hiring controls.

As stated in the report, then-mayor Belen Ferna defended the hiring, explaining that the number of JOs “was just enough” to perform all the services and projects of Dagupan City.

In its rejoinder, the state auditing agency asserted that without substantial proof, their previous observation stands.

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