Up for approval of the Municipal Solid Waste Management Council this Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021 are the proposed budgets of the Virac local government unit for solid waste management totaling over P12 million this year.
The Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO), which is under the office of Mayor Sinforoso Sarmiento Jr., has submitted to the Sangguniang Bayan for its consideration a budget of P347,130.00 for MENRO administrative staff, P5,833,350.00 for the operations of the Solid Waste Management Office, and a separate P4,854,600.00 intended for the Barangay Integrated Solid Waste Management Project.
Also to be managed by MENRO is another proposed P2 million funding for the T(h)rees for Work Reforestation Project, described as the LGU Virac Livelihood Assistance Program to COVID-19 Pandemic-Affected Families.
According to reports, members of the municipal council had expressed reservations about the huge allocations for the solid waste management and reforestation projects to be implemented in the barangays. They are allegedly apprehensive that the P4.8-million BISWMP funding, which will go to wages of 58 job order workers, will further bloat the huge number of casual employees being paid by the LGU on a monthly basis.
It may be recalled that the Commission on Audit (COA) has called the attention of the LGU on what it described as its “uncontrolled” hiring of Job Order workers.
According to the 2019 Annual Audit Report on the transactions of the capitol town, the COA stated that the municipality of Virac hired an average of 460 JO workers for CY 2019.
These JO workers were assigned to different offices including municipal offices, barangays and schools and other national offices, with the workers performing several functions including administrative and general services functions.
The auditors learned that the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) had no direct participation in the hiring of JO workers but rather acted on recommendations and requests from department heads on who would be accepted or recruited monthly.
“The hiring had no criteria (functions, qualifications, prohibitions, etc.) but was done as the need arises and (on) the availability of funds,” it stressed.
Thus, the COA added, it could not be determined whether the total number of recruited JO workers were essential, necessary, met the demand of service and for emergency cases.