Angging slams re-engineering of Davao bureaucracy, warns of mass layoff

Jun. 22, 2007

Councilor Angela Librado-Trinidad delivered a privilege speech at the City Council this week denouncing the so-called “re-engineering” of the bureaucracy, which, she said, threatens the job security and welfare of government workers in the city.

Below is her full speech:

Oppose Re-engineering, Press for Job Security and Higher Salary for More Efficient Public Service

Privilege Speech

Atty. Angela A. Librado-Trinidad

City Councilor,1st District

Chair, SP Committee on Labor & Employment Opportunities

June 19, 2007

My esteemed colleagues in the City Council, I stand on a matter of personal and collective privilege to speak of a subject that is gravely affecting us, being civil servants and government employees.

The city, during the last few weeks, was besieged with issues on the proposed restructuring of the citys bureaucracy as embodied in the document, Reengineering Program of the City Government of Davao (RPCGD) released last April. As part of this measure, main offices such as City Treasurers Office, City Assessors, CSSDO, CCRO, CCDO, City Agriculturists and CHO shall decentralize their operations at the district level, departments are to be created namely: City Information Technology Center, Public Safety Office, City Economic Enterprise Development & Management Office, City Architects Office, City Housing Office, Investment & Promotion Office and the City Tourism Development & Management Office, the last two offices, to be merged as one department. Among others, the said guideline, proposes expansion of authority and services and merging of units which directly translates to trimming the number of plantilla personnel/staff and employing more contractual services. The exclusion of custodial, janitorial and security positions in the staffing pattern is very much an issue as abolition of such affects hundreds of both plantilla and contractual employees hired by the city government for decades.

As a form of retirement and/or separation package for those re-organized/affected personnel, gratuity benefits, refund of retirement premiums, other mandated retirement benefits, separation gratuity and other forms of retirement package/separation pay are enumerated in the RPCGD to somehow salve the blow of those who will lose their jobs.

What is also noticeable is the preference of those aged 50 years old and below in the employment and re-employment of personnel. Notwithstanding the fact that for employees serving the government for 20-30 years, salary rates were never upped considerably and even calls for P125 and P3,000 across the board were never acted upon by the past three national administrations, including the present.

COURAGE, a national alliance of employees unions in different government offices, pointed out that the last time the salaries of state employees were increased was in

2001 July. The basic pay of a police personnel ( PO 1), for instance, is currently pegged

at P8,605, including allowances at P13,155. Meanwhile a government employee (salary grade 1) earns a basic pay of only P5,082 excluding mandatory deductions such as withholding tax, GSIS Premiums, PAG-IBIG contributions and Philhealth. The Arroyo administration released a P1,000 allowance last year but to date some employees have yet to receive the amount. A proposal for a 10% salary increase is set to be implemented in July this year but the government workers are less enthusiastic as ten percent is simply not enough, translating to a mere P508 a month increase or P860 for the police.

It is glaring that employees across the country demand for a flat rate or an across-the- board increase such as P3,000 for them to live decently as well as to benefit the low salaried personnel who comprises the bulk of the bureaucracy.

In scrutinizing re-engineering policies, the general objective is to somehow re-invent the bureaucracy by a so-called new paradigm of governance. As presented in Davao Citys proposed plan, it is aimed at embracing the overall functions of the office, reflective of its mandates, placing premium on quick response and faster service delivery, among many others, which at the least, is foolish if not completely deceptive.

Time and again, proponents for the reengineering of the bureaucracy would attribute the public discontent against the government as mainly due to the inefficiency of the government bureaucracy. Yet the government has conveniently blamed the inefficiency of its bureaucracy and reversely used efficiency as a reason to design schemes which in the end, actually pose anti-worker policies and promote dissent among the ranks of contractual, rank and file, and even plantilla personnel. It is no surprise then that the proposed reengineering was met by protests from City Hall employees and even from the City Legal Officer.

Reorganization as one reform strategy, more often than not, focuses on its size whereby adopting staff reduction as a permanent and main feature. It always reduces the issue to big and slow public organizations with more number of workers than needed and that this unnecessarily drains the national coffers. This raises real concern as wave upon wave of implementation of this scheme curved nothing more than the print of the victimization of hundreds of thousands of civil servants who were dismissed without cause, to be later on replaced in greater quantity.

To cite a study conducted by Joel V. Mangahas, it is incorrect to say that the Philippine bureaucracy is big unless we are definite as to what the appropriate size should be. Comparatively however, the data of six years ago reveal that the ratio of government employees per 100 population in the Philippines rank four (4) from the lowest and twelve (12) from the highest worldwide from “A Study of Size, Growth and Rationalization of the Bureaucracy”. Further, among ASEAN countries, it only bettered Indonesia. Considering that the government has successfully laid-off 323,441 or an average decline of 107,813 per year since 1991, while the population increased, the ratio has correspondingly worsened. It is worth to note that the ratios increase as countries are considered with more developed economies and improved services.

comments powered by Disqus