PRESIDENT Arroyo has ordered all government agencies to save money so they can set aside P7 billion to hire 180,000 people displaced by the global financial crisis.
She also ordered the Budget Department to make sure that not a single state worker is laid off under a program aimed at streamlining the bureucracy by abolishing redundant positions.
“We must live within our means and run a lean, efficient government. All the while, we must simultaneously invest in people,” Mrs. Arroyo said.
“If an employee occupying a position that has been declared redundant opts to stay in the government service, the position shall only be abolished upon the regular retirement of the employee.”
Mrs. Arroyo made the statement even as the Agriculture Department said part of the government’s economic-stimulus fund would rehabilitate irrigation facilities serving 300,000 hectares of farmland.
“If we repair irrigation infrastracture, we would immediately double the capacity of the areas covered, and farmers would be able to plant twice each year,” Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said.
He said his department had so far built 4,000 farm-to-market roads, installed 2,347 post-harvest facilities, put up 33 open-sea farms and 134 fish sanctuaries, and given away 415 sets of post-harvest equipment to fishermen.
Meanwhile, Mindanao would be receiving P8.8 billion to build roads and bridges, Cotabato Rep. Emmylou Talińo-Mendoza said yesterday.
She said the among was contained in the P1.41-trillion budget that Mrs. Arroyo signed on Friday.
“There is no question that Mindanao desperately needs a quick injection of funds to finance growth,” Mendoza said.
“Mindanao moves large quantities of farm produce every year,” she said.
Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said all government agencies had been ordered to save so the government could allocate 1.5 percent of its operating budget to create 180,000 jobs for displaced people.
“The President wants to make sure that in the face of this global financial crisis, we will be able to keep our commitment of assisting our affected workers,” he said. – Joyce Pangco Pańares, with Othel V. Campos and Roy Pelovello, Manila Standard Today