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A TOP Palace official justified the need for the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to hire more contract of service (COS) employees.

The agency said the hiring was needed because the available staff could no longer absorb additional workloads in view of additional projects in relation to the COVID-19 vaccination and for the National ID system.

Umabot ng ganoong number dahil dumami ang projects ng production at creatives. Nag-take-in ng programs ng ibang ahensya na nangailangan ng additional workforce. Ito po yung COVID response pagkatapos ng vaccination drive. Kailangan ng communications para sa registration ng national ID,” PCOO Assistant Secretary Kris Alban said in a radio interview.

Alban clarified that after some projects had already ended and the number of COS workers has already been reduced to just 305, he said, appalled over reports that the agency hired trolls in the guise of consultants and contractual personnel.

The Commission on Audit (COA) earlier questioned PCOO’s spending of over P70 million for the hiring of 375 contractual personnel in 2020 as the agency doesn’t have a written policy in availing COS services.

He also warded off criticisms that the supposed consultants and contractual personnel are “ghost employees,” adding that the PCCO has put in place means of verification to record the output of these contractual workers.

Alban also insisted that what they did was in compliance with rules of the COA and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in hiring contractual workers.

Interestingly, Alban admitted that they are working on regularizing these contractual personnel by seeking plantilla items from the DBM. To date, the DBM has approved 34 plantilla items for regularization of these PCOO contractual workers.

PHOTO CREDIT: pna.gov.ph)

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