Former anti-poverty chief defends hiring of consultants
MANILA, Philippines – Former National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Chief Joel Rocamora defended the “bloat” of consultants hired during his time, who were recently sacked by the incumbent chair, Liza Maza.
Rocamora said that the anti-poverty agency would not have been able to perform its basic tasks without the additional 158 contractual workers they hired back then, saying the agency was undermanned.
Maza said early this month that she dismissed 155 consultants. She said these consultants enjoyed huge compensation packages.
“After intense negotiations with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to enlarge the NAPC plantilla in 2012, the total number of regular employees allowed is, and remains, 50,” he said in a statement. "Thus, the large number of consultants and Contract of Service (COS) staff."
"It should also be pointed out that NAPC does not have local offices; thus, it has to hire people, often consultants, to undertake local work,” Rocamora added. (READ: NAPC officials to Maza: 'Consider facts' before judging agency's performance)
Tapping non-governmental organizations (NGO), a common government practice in implementing grassroots project, was also difficult during his time because of the multimillion-peso pork barrel scam.
Rocamora also clarified that funding for the fees of the additional manpower were deducted from their partners in the project implementation, such as other government agencies and the World Bank.
In his statement, Maza’s predecessor detailed the work done by the contractual workers that the NAPC had:
- 75 worked in providing social preparation for fisherfolk groups by building fish landings in 520 sites. The project is in partnership and funded by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
- 58 managed community vegetable and fruit gardens set up in 309 municipalities, and the Citizens-led Monitoring Program (CLMP) that monitored and hastened the pace of implementation of Bottom-up Budgeting (BuB) projects. These were both funded by the BuB.
- 11 assisted the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) in surveying informal settler families in Taguig City.
- 16 did research projects to “strengthen NAPC’s capacity to oversee government anti-poverty projects.” Ten of them were under the NAPC Undersecretary Jude Esguerra while 6 worked under a World Bank-funded project.
- A “smaller number of consultants” worked on other vital projects of the agency such as assisting the relocation of 12,000 informal settler families in Metro Manila and providing potable water to waterless communities.
“By attacking the consultants, some of these projects may be moved out of NAPC, shrinking the scope of NAPC contributions to anti-poverty programs,” Rocamora said. – Rappler.com