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Gov’t to spend P35 B for 100,000 new teachers, cops, firemen

Government will be hiring at least 100,000 new personnel next year, bulk of them frontline workers such as teachers, policemen and firemen, at a cost of almost P35 billion in first year salaries alone, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said.

Recto said his count refers to new positions created and does not include recruitment to replace separated, resigned, dismissed or deceased personnel.

Recto said topping the list of agencies that will go on a recruitment-spree next is bureaucracy’s biggest, the Department of Education which will open up 81,100 teaching slots beginning January next year.

These are for 43,732 kindergarten and elementary, 1,944 special education teachers, 35,192 junior high school, and 232 for senior high school teachers.

The second biggest recruiter will be the Philippine National Police which will be authorized to create 10,000 entry-level Police Officers 1 positions. Once hired, they will raise PNP’s uniformed personnel strength to 194,410, resulting in a 1:511 policeman to population ratio.

Also included in the 2018 national budget are funds to hire 1,000 Jail Officers 1 to allow the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to cope with a projected 76,276 spike in inmate population next year.

Another DILG agency, the Bureau of Fire Protection, will also be authorized to sign up 2,000 Fire Officers 1 which, Recto pointed out, hardly makes a dent on its need for about 25,000 additional firemen.

Recto said the hiring of policemen and teachers are “linked to population growth”.

“There is a cop-to-citizen ratio that must be maintained. And 40 more students enrolled in public schools would require the hiring of one teacher. Forty is the number of babies born every 10 minutes in this country,” Recto said.

With the addition of kindergarten and two more grades in the basic education curriculum, DepEd needs more teachers, “in fact, even if all the 2018 new slots will be hired, it will be needing 87,432 more,” Recto said.

For 2018, DepED is set to receive P16.7 billion to fill vacant positions and P28.17 billion for new positions to be created. Bureaucracy-wide, some P34.9 billion is allotted for the pay of new civil service entrants.

Recto said although other agencies will not create job items, they will be hiring to fill existing but vacant positions.

“Those involved in infrastructure, like the Department of Transportation and the DPWH, will have no choice but to boost their technical staff to end talent shortage and project delays.

Recto said the DPWH has 1,777 vacancies in its approved plantilla of 19,501 personnel, while the DOTr’s mother agency, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), had 1,297 reported vacancies last year.

The judiciary, Recto said, is also grappling with lack of judges and support personnel to dispose of heavy caseloads.

The Supreme Court and lower courts have total plantilla positions of 37,230 but only 25,154 are filled, leaving 12,076 vacancies.

“Ganun din ang Commission on Audit. Ang authorized positions ay 14,102 positions pero 8,175 lang ang may tao; ang 5,927 ay bakante,” Recto said.

“Public spending next year will be more than P4 trillion na, kasama ang GOCC and local governments. How can COA’s 6,733 auditors go over the books of 19,081 agencies?” Recto said.

He said revenue agencies are expected to bolster the number of its workforce. It can be recalled that President Duterte has asked Congress to authorize the filling of 3,233 Customs bureau vacancies at a cost of P4.2 billion in initial year pay.

In all, the national government will have 1,460,733 authorized positions next year but only 1,214,137 are projected to be filled, resulting in 246,596 vacancies “on paper.”

Recto conceded that some of the vacancies will have to be scrapped if they are redundant, “but crucial items like those in the PNP, medical personnel of the DOH, to name just a few, these should be filled in the name of public service.”

“Tulad nung sa pulis, kahit ma-hire mo yung 10,000 next year, meron pa ring matitirang bakante na 14,500 slots. Sa dami ng riding-in-tandem at akyat-bahay, at kasama sa Grab business o yung nag-gra-grab ng bag, kwintas at cellphone, dapat talaga punuan ang mga posisyon na yan,” Recto said. | SENATE- PR

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