More plantilla positions for COS workers at PCOO pushed

General

More plantilla or regular positions may soon be available for contract of service (COS) workers at the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

Kristian Ablan, undersecretary for finance and administration, said the PCOO has requested additional plantilla positions from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for COS employees after confirming a 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) report that the PCOO hired 375 COS personnel.

“Nag-request na po kami kay Secretary [Wendel] Avisado sa DBM ng mga plantilla items para nang sa ganun, yung ibang mga contract of service namin, makalipat na sa pagiging regular (We have requested Secretary Avisado at DBM for more plantilla items so that our contract of service [workers] can move to regular positions),” he said in an interview over dzBB.

Ablan, also program director of the Freedom of Information (FOI), said some COS employees will also have to undergo special Civil Service (SC) exams this month to qualify for plantilla positions.

“Mayroon din kasing mga contract of service na hindi pa sila CS eligible. So nakipag kontrata kami with the Civil Service Commission na mag conduct po ng special exam ngayong buwan ng Hulyo para po yung mga COS na gusto po maging regular (There are COS workers who are not CS eligible. So we are coordinating with the Civil Service Commission to conduct special exams this month for COS workers who want to apply for regular positions),” he added.

To date, Ablan said the DBM has granted the PCOO around 34 plantilla positions but the agency is working on increasing this number.

He also defended anew the need to hire more COS personnel to take charge of new government programs and projects that emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Nag-take in kasi tayo ng mga ibang programs po ng ibang ahensya na nangailangan po ng additional workforce (We took over the programs of other agencies),” he said.

Ablan also said the number of COS workers has decreased from 375 to 305.

COS employees received about PHP15,000 per month for contracts that last from 3 to six months to one year, he added.

He also assured that the PCOO has come up with a means of verification to prevent “ghost employees” or employees on an agency’s payroll who do not actually work for the agency.

“Mayroon kaming means of verification para siguraduhin na may output yung tao (We have a means of verification to ensure that these employees have outputs),” he said.

State auditors earlier questioned the PCOO for hiring 375 COS employees for public relations work in 2020 that led to expenses of over PHP70.6 million for their salaries.

Out of the PCOO’s total workforce of over 500, only 144 are regular employees while the rest are contractual.

On Friday, Ablan said the hired COS personnel are not trolls but “highly-technical” positions such as videographers, editors, directors, and social media specialists.

“Social media specialists do not equate to trolls…They don’t do what we normally understand what a troll does. It’s not under the PCOO,” Ablan said in an interview over ABS-CBN.

Source: Philippines News Agency