Press Release
October 9, 2011

Senate champions casual and contractual state workers

The Senate on Wednesday approved on second reading Senate Bill 2875 which seeks to give security of tenure to all casual and contractual government employees who have been serving the government for a substantial period of time.

Sponsored by Senator Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV, SBN 2875 shall provide security of tenure for casual and contractual government employees who have rendered at least five years of continuous service in the case of national government and 10 years in the case of local government units by giving them "co-terminus with the incumbent or CTI status."

SBN 2875 is a consolidation of senate bills filed by Senators Ramon Revilla, Jr., Francis Pangilinan, Trillanes, Loren Legarda and Jinggoy Ejercito-Estrada as well as former Senator Miguel Zubiri.

Trillanes explained that the original intent of the bill was to provide civil service eligibility to casual and contractual state workers who have rendered long years of service to the government. However, the committee took note of the points raised by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) during the Committee deliberations of the bills.

"The CSC noted that most of them [casual and contractual government employees] hold non-permanent positions and the grant to them of civil service eligibility will have no effect at all if said positions are scraped or abolished, and the grant of eligibility to the affected employees does not necessarily guarantee that they will be appointed to permanent positions, even if the said positions are available, since the same is actually subject to the discretion of the appointing authority," Trillanes expounded.

To resolve the issue, the senators said that the security of tenure will be best achieved by giving the covered state employees CTI status with the "basic aim of recognizing the service and sacrifices of our casual and contractual government employees who have rendered long years of faithful, dedicated and efficient service to the country and our people," the young senator said.

"[T]he fact that these agencies keep appointing the same individuals to these casual or contractual positions year after year necessarily implies that, at the very least, these employees meet the minimum qualification standards for the said positions and are able to perform the functions of the said positions," Trillanes, chairman of the Senate committee on civil service and government reorganization pointed out.

All covered employees shall enjoy the protection from arbitrary termination and may be removed only for just and lawful cause with due process of the law. Under the bill, their positions cannot be abolished except when the same are vacated by their incumbents.

"I believe that casual and contractual employees who have rendered long years of dedicated service to the government and the public are entitled to security of tenure, a right which is not only part of our labor statutes and jurisprudence, but which is inscribed in the fundamental law itself, the 1987 Constitution," he said.

In order to prevent enterprising individuals from taking undue advantage of the measure, the bill laid down safety nets by penalizing fraudulent attempts to avail of the benefits accorded by the bill with imprisonment of one to three years or a fine amounting up to P100,000, or both, at the discretion of the judge, in addition to perpetual disqualification from public office.

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