Press Release
July 10, 2019

What's gov't doing to cut number of gov't job vacancies? - Recto

The Senate review on the 2020 national budget proposal of the Duterte administration will include "a scrutiny on how fast agencies are hiring teachers, policemen and health personnel," Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said.

While lawmakers traditionally focus "on problems in project implementation, of equal importance are the delays in personnel hiring," he said.

"One can rapidly build classrooms or hospitals, but if there is a lack of teachers and nurses, then there is a mismatch in available infrastructure and human resources. That can also be said of roads, if we have the funds but lack the engineers to build them," Recto said.

For this year, based on the 2019 national budget, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will create 10,000 new positions, while the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, 2,000; and the Bureau of Fire Protection 3,000.

The Department of Health has also been given P8.6 billion "to retain or recruit" 435 doctors, 15,893 nurses, 324 dentists, 441 medtechs, 4,000 midwives, and 3,508 other health workers under its Human Resources for Health (HRH) Deployment program.

Over at the Department of Education (DepEd), some P32 billion has been included in its 2019 budget to, among others, "fill up vacancies and create new teaching positions."

But Recto said "personnel hiring in government has always been hobbled by red tape, lack of qualified applicants and delays in the release of funds."

The result is that the national bureaucracy was forecast to end 2018 with 246,596 job vacancies, Recto said.

He cited the case of the PNP, which in the middle of last year reported almost 26,000 policemen positions vacant.

"If all of these positions are filled, and distributed equally to the country's 1,489 towns, each will have an additional 17 policemen. If 20 percent of the slots will be allotted to cities, each will receive 35 new policemen," Recto explained.

In the case of DepEd, it is still grappling with the surge of new hires required by the additional school years mandated by the K to 12 program.

From April 2016 to August 2018, it received funding for 188,078 teacher items, but only 114,019 had been filled as of September last year, Recto said.

"So mayroong natira na mga 74,000 pa. I hope that their catch up resulted in the hiring of 75,000 more teachers since then. Or at least malaki nabawas sa backlog, because this year, dinagdagan pa 'yan ng 10,000 new positions," he added.

While there is a surplus of applicants for teachers and policemen, "there is, however, a shortage for positions requiring technical expertise," Recto said.

Government's "Build, Build, Build" program has led the Department of Public Works and Highways to scout for talent, with some reports placing at 1,500 the number of engineers it needs.

The plan to build multiple rail lines in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, including a subway in Metro Manila, would need at least 30,000 workers, Recto said.

"What I mentioned are for new positions. Agencies do not require congressional authority for the replacement of the holder of the position who has resigned, retired, was fired, separated from, or died in office," Recto explained.

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