Press Release
March 21, 2020

Villanueva asks DBM to include third-party service providers engaged by gov't in salary continuance memo

Senator Joel Villanueva has sought to clarify a portion of the guidelines covering the salary continuance for contractual workers in government which was contained in a recent circular issued by the Commission on Audit (COA) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Friday morning.

In a statement, Villanueva said he wrote Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado on Friday afternoon to request for either a separate set of guidelines or an advisory covering institutional contract of service (COS) workers, so that they could also continue to receive their salaries even if they do not report for work because of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon and other areas due to COVID-19.

"These workers have been working alongside us in serving the people, and we believe that it is right and just to give them peace of mind, too, during this period," said Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development.

Villanueva sought the clarification after the COA and DBM released a joint circular specifying the interim guidelines on the payment of job order (JO) and COS workers in government for the duration of the state of calamity the national government declared recently due to COVID-19.

The circular stated that all JO and COS workers directly engaged by government offices are covered by the guidelines, excluding institutional COS workers, who are essentially third party service providers such as janitorial, security, and other similar support services.

"Will the third-party service contractors that deployed their workers in government agencies still be paid in full, and consequently, the deployed workers, even when the deployed workers are not reporting to work due to the community quarantine?" Villanueva wrote.

At the very least, agencies which engaged the services of institutional COS should honor the contracts it entered into with service providers, and keep paying the affected workers despite the quarantine prevailing in parts of the country, the lawmaker explained.

He understood the predicament of agencies, who might run into an issue with COA since offices need to show proof that services of third-party providers have been rendered before payments are processed.

"This is why we asked Secretary Avisado for another set of guidelines so that we can resolve problems that might arise. Our intention is for our workers to be able to provide for their families, and give them peace of mind as we face this mounting health crisis," Villanueva said.

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