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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, January 9, 2019
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with Matè Espina

Power play

Rock & Refuge

This paper first reported on the P500 million disallowed disbursement by the provincial government after it exceeded the cap on personnel services which should only be 45 percent of the revenue.

Setting a cap is actually logical to ensure that there is enough resources left for delivery of services.Half a billion diverted to personnel services payment is a huge chunk that could have been put to better use in countryside development if the law was followed.

The documents actually showed that a big portion of the disallowed amount was due to hospital personnel requirements and we are all aware of this need if we’ve been to any of the public hospitals around the province where health workers are overworked.

Nonetheless, there is a law covering a limit on personnel services and this should have been followed by the supposed head of the newly created Human Resource Department.

But alas, while Vice Governor Bong Lacson, who will be the next governor post the May elections, said they will comply with the DBM ruling, Atty. Anabelle Palic is bent on questioning DBM’s ruling and said that the agency cannot encroach on the independence of a local government.

It is true that we have an existing local government code that provides a semblance of autonomy for the LGUs but DBM is a national agency and I guess it has a legal basis for calling out the disallowed disbursements.

To challenge that system is like a local chief executive challenging the president not to interfere in his affairs. How I’d actually love to see that happening but on a more worthy cause like our pursuit of becoming a one-island-region, but not in this.

From my understanding an HR head is supposed to be responsible foremost in supervising and consulting with management, in this case the government, on staffing needs, compensation, benefits, personnel advancement, labor relations among others.

How the hiring has exceeded beyond the cap set by a law that has been placed there to protect abuse in government with regards to hiring, is beyond me.

So why a cap when it is evident that there really is a need to augment personnel? I think it’s also because of allegations that government is seen as the biggest employer around and mostly because of political accommodations instead of merits.

Not to mention allegations of “ghost employees” which is probably why a limit has to be in place in order that basic services cannot be compromised.

This issue has actually been circulating in the corridors of the capitol even before the holidays but we in the media are prudent in writing about it unless we have documents on hand as proof.

I was wondering though why Palic was not getting any sympathy from fellow employees considering that such an order from DBM will spell her demotion. I admit as in any other business, an HR head usually gets extreme affection from colleagues. It’s either you are loved or otherwise and from feedback, I guess she’s in the otherwise corner.

But let’s leave that issue to Palic since she is a lawyer and with a doctorate degree at that, to find solutions that will not put the province in an embarrassing position and hopefully eased the sentiments of those that have been promoted, including herself, in case they need to revert to their previous assignments.

On another note, there have been allegations of power play working in the corridors but it is not clear to me whether this was intended for the governor who will bid his goodbye come July, with rumors that some are working doubly hard to ensure they’re well entrenched before that time comes.

Or whether this is directed to Lacson who will be the incoming governor and the fear of whether there will be major upheavals when his turn sets in.

Of course it is a natural process for the vice-governor to bring his own people in, especially for confidential appointments. But since he has been there for years now, the capitol employees probably already know or have read his movements.

As they say, “pa weather-weather lang.” But I see no need for power play if you know you are doing your job well and many of the positions are tenured anyway. At best, all you will have is a bruised ego if the next administration will put you on floating status.*

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