NEDA wants government to defer rationalization program

Published by rudy Date posted on January 31, 2009

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) wants the government to postpone the plan to rationalize state agencies to help Filipinos cope with the global financial turmoil.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Ralph Recto said the Philippines is in a better position to weather the global economic crisis if the rationalization of government agencies would be postponed.

“The last thing government should do is to exacerbate the problem by laying-off some of its own workers as well,” he said.

He said 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 government is reviving plans to rationalize state agencies as part of efforts to cut costs and to raise more funds for social services and infrastructure.

President Arroyo signed on October 2004 Executive Order 366 which called for a strategic review of the operations and organizations of the executive branch.

The order said the review is meant to identify and abolish redundant and outdated positions, with the end goal of improving service delivery and productivity.

The Department of Budget and Management, which is the lead agency in the rationalization initiative, has so far approved the rationalization plans of four departments and 11 attached agencies, 11 government-owned and controlled corporations and 15 entities classified as “other agencies.”

A total of 7,898 regular positions and 1,189 contractual/casual have already been identified for abolition, representing possible savings of at least P757 million.

“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 Labor and Employment said that as of Jan. 26, 2009, at least 18,000 workers have been retrenched while 33,000 had their working hours reduced as more firms downscale or shut down their operations.–Iris C. Gonzales, Philippine Star

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