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DPWH-region 8 clarification on ‘job order’ story

/ 05:10 AM January 18, 2019

This is in reference to the article “3,700 DPWH workers in Eastern Visayas now jobless due to nonpassage of 2019 budget” (1/11/19) by Joey Gabieta.

I was quoted as the source of information of this news.

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I would like to set the record straight that I, Tonette Lim, regional information officer, WAS NOT the source of information of this news article.

The last time Gabieta was in our office on Jan. 10, 2019, I only gave him updates on the road situation in Catarman, Northern Samar, after Tropical Depression “Usman.”

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At that time, Gabieta noticed that there were only a few employees at work. I informed him that the Job Order (JO) workers were not around; that was all I said.

He NEVER interviewed me regarding the issue. In my work, I only facilitate/coordinate with the press for requests for interviews with Department of Public Works and Highways officials, but NEVER grant interviews.

TONETTE LIM, regional information officer, Department of Public Works and Highways-Region 8

When I went to the regional office of the DPWH at the Government Center in Palo, Leyte, on Jan. 10, there were two issues I wanted to clarify:

First, the blacklisting of a particular construction firm in Northern Samar.

And, second, the situation of JO workers under the DPWH who had stopped reporting for work since Jan. 1 because of the nonpassage of the 2019 national budget.

I was given documents by a source as basis for the first issue, while my reference for the second one is a friend who works as a JO employee and was affected by the nonpassage of the national budget.

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As part of protocol, I headed to the office of Ms Tonette Lim, who entertained me and asked me about my concerns. After I informed her, she then called an official of the concerned district engineering office and asked if there was an update on the Northern Samar case. The official answered in the negative.

To follow up on the second issue, I asked Lim where her other staff were. She answered that they had not reported for work because the 2019 national budget had yet to be approved by Congress. This led me to ask more questions about the JO workers. As far as I was concerned, it was an interview and not just mere observation.

To be fair to Lim, she was not my primary source on the JO issue; she just answered my queries.

When I went to the DPWH office, it was part of my work as a journalist; it  was not a mere social visit.

JOEY GABIETA, correspondent, Visayas Bureau

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TAGS: DPWH-region 8, job order, opinion, Philippines
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