Employees: Soliman’s complaint ‘politicking’

THE Social Welfare Employees Association of the Philippines (SWEAP) denies it is keeping quiet on the case of temporary employees fired by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

Responding to a complaint posted online by immediate past secretary Corazon Soliman, SWEAP said it will always defend the rights of employees and urged her to name the MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) employees she claims to have been unjustly fired by Taguiwalo.

“Who were the employees that were allegedly unjustly terminated or are being terminated?  It is certainly difficult for us to offer help those who do not seek our help,” SWEAP’s statement said.

The DSWD rank and file employees union was reacting to Soliman’s accusation that it is being “selective.”

“My heart is heavy… Some of my former colleagues in DSWD [MOA workers] are being terminated for loss of confidence and trust by the current leadership. Is it because they are associated with me, they cannot be trusted despite their outstanding and very satisfactory ratings on their performance contracts? Is this fair? Is this just?” Soliman’s post said.

“Is power consuming the ideals of fairness, workers right to due process?  When the test for fairness and just cause is implemented, I think there is failure in the current situation.  So where is SWEAP?  In the end could it be selective justice?” Soliman asked in a post that has since been deleted.

But SWEAP said its track record shows it has never abandoned the fight for employees’ rights.

“In fact, SWEAP unqualifiedly fights for the rights and welfare of all employees of the agency, as reflected in our new 2016-2019 Collective Negotiation Agreement.  The agreement is clear that we stand for the rights of regular, casual, contractual and event MOA workers, especially those who have been with the DSWD for a long time,” SWEAP said.

The union also refuses to be drawn to what it calls “politicking and selfish interests.”

“We will never allow the union to be used by traditional politicians who use their positions in government to amass wealth or selfish political power,” SWEAP said.

No time for interference

DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo in a statement said that she would rather focus on her work and perform her responsibilities to ensure prompt and compassionate service to the poor.

“I will not be derailed by unfounded criticisms and the unwelcome interference from former DSWD senior officials,” Taguiwalo said.

Taguiwalo said that the hiring and termination of DSWD personnel are in line with existing guidelines and the terms of contracts of individual staff.

Sources from DSWD said Taguiwalo has fired two MOA employees closely associated with Soliman and her 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program).

They refused to give the names of the fired employees and the nature of their engagement with the 4Ps, however.

Taguiwalo said her administration is still unearthing problems left behind by her predecessors.

“Reports from various ranking officials, rank and file employees, and, more importantly, beneficiaries and ordinary citizens have to be addressed,” Taguiwalo said.

The Commission on Audit reported last July that Soliman and other previous DSWD secretaries have yet to liquidate a total of P6.39 billion in funds as of 2015, including payouts from 2008 to 2014.  # (Raymund B. Villanueva)