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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, January 11, 2013
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Termination looms for
hospital workers
BY CARLA GOMEZ

About 100 contractual workers at the 11 hospitals of the Negros Occidental provincial government are faced with notices of termination, with the continued refusal of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to approve the 2013 budget, Board Member Melvin Ibañez, chairman of the SP Committee on Health, said yesterday.

However, Ibañez said he has asked the Economic Enterprise Development Department of the provincial government to withhold the serving of the notices of termination for 10 working days, while the performances of these 100 hospital workers are being reviewed.

To renew the services of contractual workers a supplemental budget needs to be passed allocating their salaries, he said. And a supplemental budget can only be tackled if the 2013 budget is operational, he added.

There were initially 200 contractual workers to be affected but a way had been found to reduce that to 100, he said.

He asked for the additional 10 working days to further try to save the jobs of some of the 100, Ibañez said.

Ibañez said he met the chief of hospital of the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City and she told him that of the nine workers initially set for termination, five had very good performances.

“We will try to save jobs based on the performance of the workers and not on the basis of who recommended them,” he said.

Ibañez said the need for adequate resources through an approved 2013 budget to run hospitals is essential, noting that dengue cases are again on the rise.

He also said the provincial government needed the 2013 budget to be able to provide counterpart funds to that of the Department of Health for 28 services it had devolved to the provincial government.

Yesterday, Ibañez also challenged Board Member Patrick Lacson to prove his claim of irregularities in the 2013 budget by submitting a position paper to the SP. He should not hide what he knows, Ibañez said.

If he knows of any irregularities and technicalities, he should let the people know about them since he claims he wants transparency, Ibañez added.

Lacson said he was a bit surprised when Ibañez suggested that he submit a position paper, when he was merely questioning the minutes of the special session held on December 17 because he saw that some of the crucial discussions regarding the CEPAC road project in Murcia were not included by the stenographer in the minutes.

Some of the board members, whom he identified as Nehemias dela Cruz and Miller Serondo, argued that the conversation between BMs Pedro Zayco, Manuel Frederick Ko, Renato Gustilo and himself with Provincial Engineer Ernie Mapa at the December 17 session need not be included because the rules were suspended to allow him in the session, Lacson said.

Lacson said he strongly suggested to the SP that such discussion should and must be included as in everything that goes on in session.

When Ibañez asked him why he felt it must be included, Lacson said he saw the CEPAC road project as a crucial factor in his decision to disapprove the proposed 2013 budget late last year.

“I see the challenge of Ibañez as irrelevant. There's a big difference between questioning and accusing. I did not accuse anyone. Nevertheless, if indeed our legislative work would need some litigation for the welfare of Negros, then so be it, at the right time and in the right venue,” he added.*CPG

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