A TOP official has recommended a temporary stop to the firing of redundant state workers, saying it is necessary to avoid worsening the problem brought on by the economic crisis.
“The last thing the government should do is to exacerbate the problem by laying off some of its own workers as well,” Economic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto said in a statement.
“The rationalization plan as embodied in [Executive Order] 366 was conceptualized when our economic situation was a lot better,” he said.
“The plan and its drafters had very good intentions. Unfortunately, our situation has changed dramatically, and we have to take [that] into account.”
Recto made the statement even as Labor Department officials started meeting to discuss programs to help workers laid off here and abroad.
The number of Filipinos working overseas surged to a record 1.376 million last year, but Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said they were alarmed by the continuing reports of Filipinos being laid off here and abroad.
He said his department had set aside P400 million to help displaced workers.
In Dubai, over 1,000 of an estimated 3,000 displaced Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates had registered for a possible transfer to other countries, an official said.
Labor Attaché Jocelyn Hapal said she was encouraging companies and households to report the Filipino workers they had laid off so they could be given alternative jobs or shipped where they were needed.
President Arroyo issued EO 366 in 2004 to improve the bureaucracy by removing government employees with redundant functions.
As a result, the Budget Department has approved so-called rationalization plans for four departments, 11 attached agencies, and 11 government-owned and -controlled corporations.
The agency says it has so far identified 7,898 regular and 1,189 contractual or casual positions for abolition, representing possible savings of at least P757 million.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department says 18,000 workers have been retrenched and 33,000 others have had their working hours reduced as of Jan. 26.
“It’s all a matter of timing,” Recto said.
“While we want to see changes in the organization of some executive agencies so they can perform better, laying off thousands of government workers at a time when the global economy is slowing and private enterprises are cutting jobs runs counter to our objective of stimulating the economy.” –Roderick T. dela Cruz with Arlie Calalo, Manila Standard Today