THE National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) wants a moratorium on jobs cuts in the public sector amid the present economic difficulties.
In a statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Ralph Recto said that pushing through with the plan to rationalize government agencies may not be desirable at this time due to the global crisis that continues to threaten job security here and abroad.
Recto said that while the country is in a better position to weather the global crisis, the overall economic environment is becoming more and more hostile for ordinary Filipinos, as shown by the recent string of layoffs in the private sector.
“The last thing government should do is to exacerbate the problem by laying-off some of its own workers as well,” he added.
Executive Order 366 called for “a strategic review of the operations and organizations of the Executive Branch” to identify and abolish redundant and outdated positions, with the end goal of improving service delivery and productivity. President Arroyo signed the directive in October 2004.
“The rationalization plan as embodied in EO 366 was conceptualized during a time when our economic situation was a lot better, when prospects were brighter and optimism was on the rise. The plan and its drafters also had very good intentions. Unfortunately, our situation has changed dramatically, and we have to take these changes into account,” Recto said.
The Department of Budget and Management, which is the lead agency of the rationalization initiative, has so far approved the streamlining plans of four departments and 11 attached agencies, 11 government-owned and controlled corporations and 15 entities classified as “other agencies”.
“It’s all a matter of timing. While we want to see changes in the organization of some executive agencies so they can perform better, laying-off thousands of government workers during a time when the global economy is slowing and private enterprises are cutting jobs runs counter to our objective of stimulating the economy,” Recto said.
A total of 7,898 regular positions and 1,189 contractual or casual positions have already been identified for abolition, representing possible savings of at least P757 million.
The Department of Labor and Employment said that as of January 26, about 18,000 workers had been retrenched while 33,000 had their working hours reduced as more firms downscale or shut down operations. –Darwin G. Amojelar, Reporter, Manila Times