Alleged MoTC lapses unveiled; minister belies allegations

By Ali G. Macabalang

(Above photo is culled from Facebook accounts of MoTC-BARMM Minister Dickson Hermoso.)

COTABATO CITY

The leadership of the Bangsamoro government’s Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MoTC) has been accused of alleged malfeasances ranging from “illegal dismissal” of personnel to “nepotistic” hiring of contractual workers, according to a Philippine Muslim Today (PMT) news source.

The source, a classmate in 1985 MPA classes of this writer, furnished on Saturday, Feb. 20 e-copies of documents concerning alleged defiance of Minister Dickson Hermoso of advisories from the Office of the Chief Minister through the Bangsamoro Attorney-General’s Office (BAGO) requiring him to answer allegations.

The allegations also included the appointment by Minister Hermoso of his wife, Rosalia as consultant with a monthly honorarium of 20,754-pesos, and the complaints by some of 41 regular workers absorbed by the MoTC from the defunct Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) of the abolished 39-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The 41 workers belonged to the “first batch” of DoTC workers separated form service as mandated by R.A. 11054 governing the gradual phase-out of ARMM structures resulting from the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). At least 26 of them protested against Chief Minister Ebrahim before the Civil Service Commission central office.

In a prompt telephone interview by the PMT on Saturday, Minister Hermoso confirmed having appointed contractual workers including his wife to help manning the MoTC operations handicapped by the separation of regular personnel in “phased out” positions.

But he pointed out that those contractual workers were hired for jobs below the salary grade of 25, which only the CM has the authority to appoint, and that their tasks were skills-based and immense with his trust and confidence. Also, he said, his hiring of contractual workers passed through a board screening outside the ambit of his authority.  

Local legal luminaries corroborated Minister Hermoso’s contention, saying the hiring of job-order (JO) or contractual workers to include even a relative for “positions of confidence” is allowed under prevailing Civil Service rules and regulations.

Hermoso, a retired Army colonel involved for years in the peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said some of the complainants were applying for employment in the MoTC and most of them were eyeing positions with salary grades requiring Chief Ministerial Minister’s authority.

Their quest is beyond my authority because, first – their applications will have to be screened and evaluated by the board created by the OCM, and second – it is the Chief Minister who will have to appoint them if they pass through the screening processes. Hermoso said.

On the issue of “defiance,” Hermoso said, he said disobedience is not in his vocabulary as a professional soldier for decades.

The complaint against MoTC head came as one of three or four feedback tips received through a Facebook page this writer opened late last month to convey grievances against perceived lapses and abuses in public  institutions like the BARMM government. AGM

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