MANILA - The government must be quick in hiring vital personnel, Senate President Tempore Ralph Recto said Wednesday, as he lamented the ballooning job vacancies in the bureaucracy.
Recto said due to red tape, lack of qualified applicants and delays in the release of funds, there were an estimated 246,596 job vacancies at the end of 2018.
"One can rapidly build classrooms or hospitals, but if there is a lack of teachers and nurses, then there is a mismatch in available infrastructure and human resources," he said in a statement.
"That can also be said of roads, if we have the funds but lack the engineers to build them.”
Recto said based on the 2019 budget, the Philippine National Police would create 10,000 new positions, while the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and Bureau of Fire Protection would have additional 2,000 and 3,000 posts, respectively.
The senator said the PNP, for instance, reported 26,000 vacant policemen posts in the middle of 2018.
"If all of these positions are filled and distributed equally to the country's 1,489 towns, each will have an additional 17 policemen. If 20 percent of the slots will be allotted to cities, each will receive 35 new policemen," he said.
The Department of Health, meanwhile, was given P8.6 billion to “retain or recruit” 435 doctors, 15,893 nurses, 324 dentists, 441 medical technologists, 4,000 midwives, and 3,508 other health workers.
At the Department of Education, some P32 billion was allotted to fill up vacancies and create new teaching positions, Recto said.
Recto noted that the DepEd continues to grapple with the surge of new hires required by the additional school years mandated by the K to 12 program. He said budget was allotted from April 2016 to August 2018 for the hiring of 188,078 teachers, but only 114,019 of the vacancies were filled as of September 2018.
Meanwhile, the senator said there is a shortage of engineers who would work for various government infrastructure projects. He said he has heard of reports pegging at 1,500 the number of engineers needed by the government. He said another 30,000 workers are needed to build multiple rail lines in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, including a subway in Metro Manila.