'We don't have trolls': PCOO confirms 'massive' hiring of contractuals worth P70M


Posted at Jul 09 2021 09:18 AM

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Contractuals account for 70 percent of PCOO total workforce: COA

MANILA - "We don't have trolls in PCOO."

Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Kris Ablan said this Friday after state auditors flagged its hiring of 375 contract of service (COS) personnel in 2020.

He said the hired COS personnel performed tasks that were "highly technical." These positions include videographers, editors, directors and social media specialists.

"Social media specialists [do] not equate to trolls," Ablan said. 

"The social media specialists in the COA report are actually our graphic artists who upload our socmed cards, our infographics explaining our programs on PhilSys, COVID-19 response and the vaccines."

"They don't do what we normally understand what a troll does. It's not under the PCOO," he added.

In its annual report, the Commission on Audit said the "unrestricted and massive" hiring of employees under contract of service cost the PCOO P70.6 million, "which could have been used for other programs and projects of the government."

The COS personnel is 260 percent higher than the number of regular employees of PCOO, accounting for 70 percent of the agency's total workforce, COA said. 

PCOO has 144 regular personnel in 2020.

State auditors also found that PCOO had no written policy guidelines on the hiring of employees, particularly under contract of service.

Identification of individuals to be hired rests directly upon the request of the department heads and other agency officials, COA noted.

Accomplishment reports of COS personnel, it added, also did not reflect their actual duties or tasks.

Ablan said the PCOO had taken steps to regularize some contractual workers. The agency had also asked the Department of Budget and Management for additional items for its legal and IT offices, he added.

"We are currently undergoing hiring process to transfer some contract of service to regular plantilla. So, steps have been made," he said.