By Aie Balagtas See
MANILA, Philippines – About 3,000 workers in Muntinlupa City have been working for the government without receiving any salary since July.
An insider, who requested anonymity due to lack of authority to speak on the matter, told The STAR these workers – laid off by Mayor Aldrin San Pedro effective July 1 – have been “lured” to continue rendering their services “as volunteers,” while the executive department is in the process of deciding whether to rehire them or not.
“In hopes that they will be rehired, they agreed,” the source said.
Those affected were consultants and casual, contractual, and job order employees San Pedro hired during his first term but because of alleged “mismanagement of funds, were removed in order to address the budget problems,” the source said.
The city government, said the source, promised the workers that their contracts will be re-evaluated.
“But look, up to now these people have yet to receive any contract, worse, any salary,” the source added.
In a separate interview, Muntinlupa spokesman Omar Acosta confirmed the allegations but denied that these people were asked to do voluntary work.
“Yes (it is true that some people are working without pay) but I challenge them to come out with proof that they’ve been told to work voluntarily,” he told The STAR.
According to Acosta, San Pedro decided not to renew their contracts because of “cost-cutting.”
“Since most of them are under-utilized it is better that we remove them. It’s no use maintaining people who are excesses, when you could have spent the taxpayers’ money for other services,” Acosta said.
He also made it clear that these people are not employees, and therefore, not entitled to receive wages.
Nonetheless, he assured that evaluations are ongoing and they may release the names of those who will be rehired in September.
WE certainly hope that this is true as this is most unfair to the employees of the City who continue to work hard for the City but do not get any compensation in return.