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Is Katrin Buted qualified to become PTCAO head?

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Special Report by Joenald Medina Rayos

BATANGAS Capitol — WITH the Civil Service Commission (CSC) requirements on trainings not met by applicant Katrin Erika Buted, is she still qualified to be appointed as the department head of the Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office (PTCAO)?

This is the question that needs to be answered. A matter that the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) have to consider whether they vote to confirm or not Buted’s appointment.

On January 12, 2024, the Committee on Human Resources of the SP called for the committee hearing to assess the qualifications of Katrin Buted, who is applying for the position PTCAO. Buted, 28, single, has the appointment of Governor Hermilando I. Mandanas and was endorsed for the Board’s confirmation.

During the said hearing, Buted said that she has then served as Officer-in-Charge of the PTCAO in 2022 but has resigned effective January 1, 2023 due to her pregnancy and some physical and mental health concerns. Surprisingly, Buted come back again to the post she has already resigned from and barely few weeks in office, she is now seeking the confirmation of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan as PTCAO’s department head!

Katrin Erika A. Muted appears before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s Committee on Human Resources hearing.| Photo by Jayson D. Aguilon

Also in that hearing, Buted claimed that she has attended training in Pangasinan State University (PSU) which prompted Tourism Committee acting chairperson Senior Board Member Ma. Claudette Ambida to ask the applicant if there is no available training in Batangas or anywhere in the region to undergo such training. Buted said there is no question as to where she got the training, but the application or usefulness of such training in relation to her performance in the department. Katrin’s father, former Board Member Dexter Buted, is the incumbent president of the PSU.

Meanwhile, longtime worker who rose from the rank, Ms. Jaida M. Castillo has since petitioned the Sangguniang Panlalawigan thru Vice Governor Mark Leviste to consider her as the PTCAO head. 

Last January 5, 2024, Castillo asked the SP’s HR Committee to review the documents submitted by Buted.

Ambida asked the committee to put on record that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan also recognizes seniority in service of Ms. Castillo and her 31 years service in the government with seven (7) years as Assistant Department Head of PTCAO, and Officer-in-Charge from Sept. 21, 2021 to June 30, 2023.

There’s seemingly exists a gray area as to the dates claimed by Buted and Castillo as to their terms as OIC head of the department.

Scrutiny of Credentials

The turn of events prompted the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to ask the Human Resource and Management Office (HRMO) of the province to submit copies of Buted’s Division Performance Commitment and Review Form (DPCR) / Individual Performance Commitment and Review Form (IPCR) with Rating: (1) as Executive Assistant for July 2016 – December 2018; (2) as Information Officer V for July 2018 – December 2022; and (3) as Information Officer V and concurrently as OIC PGADH of PTCAO for July 2021 – December 2022. The SP asked also a copy of the Office Order/Detail Order/Memorandum from the Office of the Governor and PHRMO relative to the designation of Buted as OIC to the PTCAO for Sept. 4, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2022. [Castillo also claimed that she was the OIC of PTCAO from Sept. 21, 2021 to June 30, 2022].

On January 19, 2024, another Committee Hearing was held at the SP. Upon scrutiny of documents submitted, Senior BM Ma. Claudette U. Ambida called upon the attention of the committee and the resource persons present to the discrepancies in the documents submitted as against the required trainings that the appointee must possess. 

R.A. 9593 or the Tourism Code and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) QS standard requires that a Provincial Tourism Officer should attend various trainings conducted by the Department of Tourism, including: Tourism Awareness & Capability Building Seminar (24 Hrs); Seminar on Disaster Risk Reduction  & Management (24 hrs);  Basic Tourism Statistics Training (32 hrs); Local Tourism Guidebook Orientation (16 hrs); and Seminar on Gender and Development (GAD) Orientation (8 hrs).

Ambida said that based on the documents submitted, Buted only complied 16 hrs or barely half of the required 32 hrs Basic Tourism Statistics Training; 20 hrs of the required 24 hrs of the seminar on DRRM; and only 3 hrs of the required 8 hrs seminar on GAD. She has not attended the other required training seminars mentioned above. None of the attended trainings were conducted by the DOT.

She also said that the appointee also failed to submit her Individual Performance Commitment and Review Form (IPCR).

Conflicting views

When asked to comment on the proceeding, Atty. Ferdinand Maneja said considering the Memorandum Circular – QS for the Tourism Operations Position in the Local Government, Buted is not qualified to the position she’s appointed to.

HRMO Asst. Dept. Head, Madonna Bicol, said the selection board has ascertained the qualifications of Katrin Buted for the position. She also said that the governor has already signed the appointment of the applicant and it’s up to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (whether the position will be confirmed or not). But when asked whether Buted is still qualified (after the non-compliance of the required trainings were established based on documents submitted), Bicol refused to answer.

Meanwhile, Provincial Administrator Wilfredo Racelis said the appointment of Buted is anchored on the trust and confidence of the governor. And the decision now is with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan whether the Board will concur or not on the appointment based on their studies and hearing.

With the new developments unfolded, the question whether Buted is still qualified or not to the position of PTCAO department head is still hanging.

The ball now is on the hands of the Board Members whether or not the appointment of Buted merit the SP’s 

confirmation, given the cir-

cumstances in the said department. The HR Committee, chaired by BM Roman Junjun Rosales, is set to report the outcome of the Committee Hearings to the plenary on Monday, June 22, wherein the SP will determine whether Buted’s coveted position be confirmed or not.| – BNN

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