Philippine Daily Inquirer
COA: Dubious contractuals still on Davao City payroll
The Davao City government has yet to clean up its payroll of questionable contractual employees, three years after being called out by the Commission on Audit (COA) for its dubious hiring practices.
Not only that, the city’s spending on personnel, vaguely described as “other general services,” has jumped to nearly P1 billion under Mayor Sara Duterte, daughter of President Duterte.
The COA’s recommendation in 2014 for the city to justify the number of its contractual hires remained only “partially implemented,” according to the state auditor’s 2017 annual report.
This meant that not much had been done to deal with the irregularity during Mayor Duterte’s first full year, since the 2017 report just repeated the assessment in the 2016 report.
But Mayor Duterte, in a Viber message on Thursday, said the city government had been transparent in all its records.
“We have provided all the documents needed by COA for them to do their job,” she said.
The mayor, however, said she could not “answer every item on the reports in the media because there have been meetings conducted for this purpose between the city government and COA, which would form part of their report.”
‘Doubtful time records’
In 2014, the COA said “the necessity of hiring employees under contract of services and job orders could not be established due to absence of clear- cut hiring policies.”
It also flagged the “doubtful daily time records of most job orders assigned at the barangays,” as well as the failure to specify the functions and duties of the hired personnel in their contracts.
The even earlier 2012 report already gave a preview of the issue by questioning the lack of accomplishment reports to prove the need for the job order and contract personnel.
Of these irregularities, the 2016 and 2017 reports said the city government dealt with only the lack of hiring policy.
Although Davao City’s compliance with the COA’s recommendations remained incomplete, the financial statement showed the city government spent P938.74 million on personnel hired as “other general services,” or 80.7 percent of the P1.16-billion total expenditure on contracted services.
This was significantly higher than the total payments for “other general services” recorded in the financial statements for previous years: P803.71 million (78.6 percent of the total expenditure on contractual services) in 2016, P738.56 million (76.4 percent) in 2015, and P728.26 million (79.8 percent) in 2014.
Expenditure on “other general services,” the COA said, consistently dwarfs the combined amounts for services described as auditing, consultancy, environmental/sanitary, janitorial, security and other professional services.
The city generally has 10,000 to 14,000 personnel in any given year, but only 2,000 to 3,000 are regular plantilla employees. In 2017, there were 2,653 plantilla personnel, 4,801 job order personnel and 7,653 contract of service holders, according to the COA.
The COA stopped short of calling the questionable contractuals “ghost employees.”