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Mayor willing to help ex-BACIWA workers

BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO

Newly appointed Department of Labor and Employment Region 6 Director Sixto Rodriguez Jr. made a courtesy call to Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday with his predecessor Cyril Ticao, who retired last month.*

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday said the city is willing to help resolve the woes of 50 terminated employees of the Bacolod City Water District, who were recently ordered reinstated by the Civil Service Commission .

Leonardia said the city will come in  if it is appropriate and if there is anything that they can do to help resolve the conflict between the workers and the management of Baciwa and Prime Water Infrastructure Corporation.

The Civil Service Commission in Western Visayas thru Director Nelson Sarmiento ordered the reinstatement of the employees who were dismissed from work over alleged redundancy of job last month.

Sarmiento stressed that there is no strong indication that the reorganization in Baciwa, following its partnership with PrimeWater, resulted in the redundancy of the positions of the terminated employees.

The official also said the evidence of redundancy is that the existing manpower exceeds more than what is necessary in the operation of a certain agency, which means that an employee’s position may only be declared redundant if his or her services are already in excess of what is demanded by the actual requirement of the agency.

Leonardia said they have not received any communication from the displaced Baciwa workers concerning their reinstatement in the water utility firm but if they do, they will refer the matter to the City Legal Office.  He said they are concerned about the workers’ plight but at the same time they know this is a legal matter so they will respect the legal processes. He also believes that every party has its own right.

“This is an internal matter between them. But if our help is solicited, we are open. We are willing to evaluate and do what is in accordance with the law and what is in accordance with our better judgement,” the mayor said.

They do not know all the details of the case and what are the legal issues involved. But their concern is that of the decision of the Civil Service Commission. If Baciwa has no legal remedy then the concerned workers should be reinstated. But it will depend on Baciwa what action to take, Leonardia said.

Leny Espina, former Baciwa Employees Union president, said yesterday that they are thankful that the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod for taking action regarding their concern.

The SP approved a resolution Wednesday appealling to the management of Baciwa and Prime Water to consider immediate reinstatement of the 60 Baciwa workers per decision of the CSC.

Espina said that when the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) was still being negotiated they already wrote the city together with Amlig Tubig. But the city forwarded their communication to the Baciwa Board of Directors which declined their request not to push through with the JVA with Prime Water because of its effect on the consumers and the employees.

They lost their jobs last December because of the JVA and could not find work because of the pandemic. Baciwa will not reinstate them yet because it referred the case to the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, she said.*

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