Lawmaker urges government to fill up vacant positions in bureaucracy


TO ease rising unemployment, a lawmaker on Thursday urged government agencies to fill vacant positions totaling almost 178,000 in the entire bureaucracy.

In a news statement, Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor said Congress allocates funds for salaries in the annual budget on the basis of existing permanent positions, including those that are unfilled.

According to Defensor, many state offices choose not to recruit additional personnel to save funds, which they then use for other purposes with the approval of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Malacañang.

“We should stop this practice by compelling agencies to hire needed personnel. Funds for salaries should be used for salaries,” he said.

“The government is the country’s biggest employer. It can ease the unemployment problem by hiring personnel to fill job vacancies, for which there are funds in the annual budget,” the lawmaker said.

Citing the 2022 budget documents submitted to Congress, Defensor said the bureaucracy has permanent positions numbering 1,899,747, from the president, who holds Salary Grade 33 (P415,728 a month), down to the lowest-paid worker, who receives P12,034 (Salary Grade 1) in basic pay.

Of the total number of permanent positions, 1,721,753 are filled or occupied, while the remaining 177,994 are vacant, Defensor said.

He added that the number of permanent jobs, filled positions and vacancies reflected in the budget documents excludes those in local government units throughout the country.

“This means that agencies have the funds to hire personnel to fill vacant positions,” Defensor stressed.

In filling job vacancies, he urged state agencies to give priority to so-called contract-of-service (COS) and job-order (JO) workers who could qualify for the vacant positions.

“These contractual personnel have already been doing the job of those who are supposed to occupy the vacancies. They are not hired on a permanent basis perhaps because they lack certain requirements like civil service eligibility,” he said.

Defensor said there are an estimated 530,000 COS and JO workers in the bureaucracy.

The lawmaker also supported the plea of these employees for a year-end gratuity pay of at least P10,000 each.

“President Duterte may grant their request. The DBM can source the needed funds from savings,” he said.

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