By Madelaine Miraflor
As much as 259 job order (JO) workers of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) are about to lose their jobs all at the same time as the top officials of the agency failed to extend their contracts.
Manila Bulletin has learned that the SRA Board has met on Friday to address the concern over 259 JOs whose contracts are expiring on July 1, but failed to do so due to the absence of SRA Administrator Hermenegildo R. Serafica.
The meeting, according to a source from the SRA, was only attended by SRA Board Members Emilio Yulo and Roland Beltran, together with managers of SRA.
“[There was] no quorum. The Sugar Board was not able to act, among many other concerns, on the renewal of the contracts of the 259 JOs who will consequently be out of work by July 1, 2019,” the source said over a phone interview.
He said such failure would be a huge blow to the day to day operation of the SRA, especially since the agency has long been understaffed.
Right now, the SRA employees are composed of 448 plantilla positions, 250 warm bodies, and the 259 JOs who are about to lose their jobs.
Last year, the Civil Service Commission (CSC), Commission on Audit (COA), and Department of Budget and Management issued Joint Circular No. 1, series of 2018, allowing government agencies to engage the services of JO workers and renew existing JO contracts until 2020.
The transitory period was extended in order not to impair the delivery of public service, the circular reads.
When asked why Serafica was not able to attend the meeting, the source said the SRA chief was out to attend some festivities in Ormoc.
Manila Bulletin has reached out to Serafica for a comment but he has not yet responded.
When sought for comment, Beltran, on the other hand, confirmed that the ninth regular sugar board meeting was supposed to take place last Friday, but there had been no quorum.
He also confirmed that one of the agendas of the meeting includes the supposed extension of the JO contracts.