The Palawan State University (PSU) has recalled its memo issued on Monday terminating job order and contract of service (COS) personnel.

University president Dr. Ramon Docto said they decided to recall the order during a meeting of the University Management Committee.

“Nag-meeting kami kanina, okay naman, kailangan pa rin ang services nila,” Docto said.

Earlier, the university issued a memorandum advising vice presidents, college deans, unit heads, and College of Community Resources Development (CCRD) directors not to renew the contracts of JOs and COS effective January 3, citing budgetary constraints.

The university’s JOs and COS personnel, estimated to be around 944, have been allowed to report to work starting Wednesday.

“Nag-end na kasi ang contract nila ng December 31—pinababalik na rin natin sila, pinababalik na sila, ‘yon ang meeting namin kanina,” Docto said.

Docto, however, explained that the hiring of job order personnel may be discontinued or reduced in the second quarter of the current academic year.

“Sa ating budget, sobrang dami na ng JO natin. Okay pa naman hanggang first quarter, baka second quarter na magbawas. Wala pang approved ng budget kasi,” he said.

“Hindi naman (mako-compromise ang operation) kasi hindi naman lahat mababawas. Kaunti lang naman—depende kunyari sa ating mga external campuses, kung mayroon sampu na guard gawin na lang na anim, dalawa-dalawa na duty,” he further explained.

“Ang services nila ay kailangan pa rin natin, hindi naman natin na tanggalin sila. Nag-end ka ng contract, magkaroon muna ng meeting para kung ano ‘yong kailangan pa. Nag(sabi) naman ang mga head na kailangan pa nila, tuloy,” he said.

Some personnel were taken aback by the memorandum’s release and raised concerns that it would have an impact on the university’s operations, given that a major portion of its workforce is made up of JOs and COS.

CCRD Rizal Director Ralph Pulanco noted his campus has two guards, three maintenance workers, and three office employees, all of whom are JOs and COS.

“Kaniya-kaniyang paraan ng pakiusapan sa mga staff, lalo ang guard kasi medyo mahirap wala bantay ang campus. May mga gamit doon lalo na mga office equipment,” he explained.

Another worker interviewed by Palawan News, who requested anonymity, reiterated his coworkers’ fears, saying that some of them have already begun looking for new employment after learning about the memorandum.

“Wala, actually kahapon lang din nilabas ang memo, wala kaming idea na may ganoon pala. Although, malamang ‘yong admin, VPAA, sila president, malamang matagal na nila pinag-uusapan at saka ‘yong academic committee— Based sa mga napag-uusapan, nasho-short sila when it comes to pasahod. Nasho-short sila, hindi nila alam kung saan kukuha ng pasahod,” he said.

He referenced an instance in November in which JOs and COS were not paid for nearly three months of wages due to the Board of Regents’ failure to approve a quarterly budget. He stated that JOs and COS make up the majority of the university’s workforce, notably in CCRDs.

“Pagpasok ng bagong taon, ganoon kaagad. Hindi namin alam, walang ipinaliwanag sa amin kung bakit. Bigla na lang may memo na ganoon. Lutang, questionable, hindi nila alam kung ano rin ang gagawin nila, hindi rin maipaliwanag ng for example head ng bawat college or every unit kung bakit,” he said.

Docto, on the other hand, claimed that they were aware. “Hindi naman, alam naman nila, every end of the year may end din ang contract”.

Despite the fact that their contracts had expired, Docto stated that the institution is still concerned about their wellbeing, recognizing their need for work in light of the pandemic and recent events that have made life more difficult.

He said if the intention of the memo had materialized, it will affect the enrollment and even the education services of PSU as some teaching personnel are also JOs.

He added that when the memorandum was issued, the university became “a ghost town,” with JOs and COS reluctant to report for work.

He was relieved to learn that the university will still allow workers to report on January 5.

“That’s good news!” he said in a text message.