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Security of tenure for 4Ps staff urged

March 12, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 280 views

GOVERNMENT workers that serve as grassroots implementers of the P103-billion Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) are at risk of becoming poor due to the contractual nature of their jobs, House Minority Leader and 4Ps party-list Rep. Marcelino “Nonoy” Libanan said on Sunday.

“We find it unacceptable that the very people at the frontlines of the government’s fight against poverty are precariously exposed to the hazard of becoming deprived on account of their contractual employment,” Libanan said.

In a related development, AGRI Party-list Rep. Wilbert T. Lee backed President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.’s plan to put up permanent Kadiwa stores across the country.

“Suportado natin ang planong gawing permanente ang Kadiwa. In fact, we have been calling for the institutionalization of the program and filed a bill towards this end because it presents a win-win scenario for all concerned. Winner ang magsasaka, winner ang mamimili, Winner Tayo Lahat,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, House Bill No. 3957 or the “Kadiwa Agri-Food Terminal” bill seeks to institutionalize the program through an initial P25 billion fund for the Department of Agriculture to set up and manage Kadiwa Agri-Food Terminals in every local government unit in the country.

The lawmaker said that scaling up the Kadiwa initiative across the whole country could be a concrete and immediate intervention to the current food crisis.

Lee also said that making the Kadiwa program permanent would help eliminate the need for farmers and fisherfolk to approach unscrupulous middlemen.

“Makakatulong ito para maging mas stable at mura na ang presyo ng pagkain dahil may direct access na sa pagitan ng mga producer at mamimili,” the solon said.

Libanan said the 4Ps is basically staffed by temporary contract of service or job order workers down to the municipal level, according to Libanan.

“They do not have security of tenure, and they have zero social security protection and no benefits whatsoever. And once their work contracts end, they risk joblessness and poverty, along with their families,” Libanan said.

Libanan made the statement as he filed House Bill No. 7410, which seeks to regularize the employment of 4Ps staff through the creation of new program offices and plantilla positions under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Under the bill, the DSWD would be required to establish permanent offices and positions for 4Ps management and operations at the regional, provincial, city and municipal levels.

The new 4Ps offices would be staffed by regular heads, social welfare officers, administrative assistants, and monitoring and evaluation personnel, among others.

The 4Ps is the government’s poverty reduction and social development strategy that provides conditional cash aid to poor households.

At present, the DSWD is one of the smallest executive departments in terms of regular plantilla items.

In the 2023 General Appropriations Act’s staffing summary, the DSWD has only 3,335 authorized permanent staffing positions.