Contractuals will be worst hit by dissolution of Negros Island Region

MANILA, Philippines – After President Rodrigo Duterte orderd the Negros Island Region (NIR) scrapped, what will happen to the regional government's workers when the two provinces revert to their original regions?

Negros Occidental will again be under Western Visayas, while Negros Oriental will return to Central Visayas.

This will lead to the possible loss of jobs in the regional government offices, according to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) NIR Regional Director Anthony Nuyda. Job order hires (JOs) and contractuals are the most vulnerable. (READ: On the job: The Filipino precariat)

“There are non-permanents, a few who are job order hires. Maybe they can be saved by their mother units, but they may opt not to renew their contracts,” Nuyda told Rappler in a phone interview on Thursday, August 10.

Nuyda said the JOs and contractuals are hired on a per-project basis, thus not always having secure work. In their DILG regional office alone, he said they have 15 non-permanent employees, but there are more in the regional offices of other government agencies.

On top of this, he said, employees that the regional governments want to keep may opt to give up the offers since working their jobs may now require them to, for example, relocate 200 kilometers away from Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, if ever job slots run out in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.

The NIR office had set up shop in Bacolod City during the region’s short existence.

Still, the safety and danger of their jobs will depend on how national government agencies will devise the divide. “If there is no need for jobs [in Bacolod], we need to transfer," Nuyda said.

“We will wait for instructions from the central office. They will plan and discuss with other agencies,” Nuyda said in a mix of English and Filipino. 

President Duterte on Monday, August 7, reversed the executive order of former President Benigno Aquino III in uniting Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental into the Negros Island Region. (READ: FAST FACTS: The Negros Island Region)

Duterte cited lack of funds in keeping the NIR united, much to the dismay of past administration officials and the leaders of the now-divided island. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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