COA flags PCOO's hiring of 375 contractual personnel in 2020

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 7) - State auditors questioned the Presidential Communications Operations Office for hiring 375 contractual personnel for public relations work in 2020.

In its annual report, the Commission on Audit said the PCOO spent over ₱70.6 million for the salaries of contractual hires.

Out of the PCOO's total workforce of over 500, only 144 are regular employees while the rest are contractual. Auditors noted the PCOO has no policy guidelines on hiring of employees under contract of service, or COS.

"Identification of individuals to be hired rests directly upon the request of the department heads and other agency officials," auditors said.

Listed contractual hires include graphic artist, scriptwriter, public relations officer, photographer, among others. Auditors said these requests were not justified with statement of functions to be performed by the personnel to be hired.

The COA also pointed out that some contractual personnel duplicated the work of regular employees.

"In addition, accomplishment reports of COS personnel were exactly the same with one another. Only the name and the period covered are being changed," COA said.

In its reply, PCOO management said hiring of additional workers was urgent to "enrich the quality of public discourse". It added that it has already issued guidelines on the hiring of contractual personnel.

PCOO also said it is now implementing a budget cap for contractual hires.