Bzzzz: 'Not yet normal' at Cebu City Hall? Depends on who's rating the casuals

PEOPLE talk about...

[1] WHY BONGBONG MARCOS WILL RUN IN 2020. His sister, Senator Imee Marcos, said she knows Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will run "kasi unemployed siya. Luto na lang nang luto, blog nang blog." The sister doesn't know if he will run for a national or local position. "There seems to be a stampede of candidates in the 2022 national elections," she said. Their mom, Mrs. Imelda Marcos, their "oracle and consultant," has yet to give her advice.

No word about his protest against Vice President Leni Robredo. Which doesn't mean Bongbong has given up all hopes already.

[2] "HYBRID VOTING" IN NEXT ELECTIONS? The senators are reportedly for it. It means votes will be cast and tallied manually at the precinct level and the results transmitted digitally. It's not known yet how much time it would eat up before the winners are known. But politicians who fear being cheated may get some comfort that the part of the unknown, with the risk of fraud, in elections is reduced in the precincts.

Replacing the casuals

Some Cebu City Hall watchers say one gauge that the Mayor Edgar Labella administration has not yet "settled in" is that operations are not yet "normal."

For one, they say, many casual employees, hired last year yet, starting in July, have not yet been paid because of incomplete or invalid papers. It's not certain how many of City Hall's 3,000 casual workers have not been paid yet.

All new administrations tend to falter while adjusting to the new environment "but it's more than six months already."

Mayor Labella said last August that they're focused on filling up the 2,900 full-time positions at City Hall "so they can do away with hiring more casual employees."

Mayors historically fail to achieve that goal of depending on regulars to dispense with services of casuals.

The reasons cited by one City Hall watcher:

[1] Tough to make the casual workers do their assigned job, so they hire more to get things done;

[2] Supporters and friends keep asking to have their relatives and acquaintances get employed; the elected officials often cannot say no.

[3] The casual or "job order" positions are useful in settling disputes among political leaders, just as they are the cause of the feuds in the first place.

[4] The number of casuals is assumed to be a bloc of voters for the administration; the regulars are protected by Civil Service and may vote for rival candidates. The bigger the number of casuals, the bigger the "captive vote."

What is 'normal'

Five months ago, the Civil Service Commission reportedly discovered "an overdraft" of casuals at Cebu City Hall.

Worse, the CSC checkers, going undercover, discovered "employees" who were playing games on their cell-phones, putting on makeup and even sleeping. And they were not stopped by their supervisors, indicating lack of control over the employees, most of whom are employed as political favor or reward.

It would be interesting to find out if after the next six months, the number of casuals will be reduced and more will be hired for regular positions instead.

A veteran employee, asked by a news reporter why things hadn't gone normal yet for the Labella administration, said, "Not normal? This is normal. It becomes abnormal if you see casuals working hard at their job."

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