Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Vol. V, No. 44      December 11 - 17, 2005      Quezon City, Philippines











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700,000 Gov’t Employees to Lose Jobs?

Is there a difference between retirement and retrenchment? Analyzing government policies on the rationalization of the bureaucracy, it appears that government officials want to encourage as much as 50% of the 1.4-million workforce to retire while at the same time giving them minimal retirement benefits.


Ibon Foundation, an independent research think-tank, reported that around 120,000 employees were retrenched in 2004. Most of those who lost their jobs were local government employees, contractuals and casuals. With the government’s rationalization policy, half of the government’s 1.4-million workforce is seen to lose their jobs. As if this is not enough, the government is looking for ways to give those affected with minimal retirement benefits.


The Civil Service Commission earlier admitted that about 30 percent of the 1.4-million government employees will be affected by the rationalization in government agencies.

However, in an interview with Bulatlat, Ferdinand Gaite, national president of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage), said that affected employees could actually reach half of the government workforce.

In October last year, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order (EO) No. 366 “directing a strategic review of the operations and organizations of the executive branch and providing options and incentives for government employees who may be affected by the rationalization of the functions and agencies of the executive branch.”

According to Courage, some 1,500 employees of the National Housing Authority (NHA) could be retrenched. They are mostly drivers, warehouse and administrative personnel. From the Agricultural Training Institute, around 200 permanent employees will be affected and training centers nationwide will also be reduced, Gaite said.

At the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), regional offices will be converted into project management offices that might lay off around 1,600 employees. Gaite added that the implementation of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) will also affect workers in the wake of the privatization of dams.

Courage data also showed that around 300 employees at the Office of the President, mainly those hired during the Ramos and Estrada administrations, were already served with “notices of redundant positions.”

At the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), around 200 regular employees, mostly caregivers, center attendants, and clerks could be laid off. Gaite added that even the more than 1,000 contractuals or those under a memorandum of agreement will also be retrenched despite the union’s demand that they be given permanent status.

At the National Printing Office half of the 500 employees will be streamlined, Gaite said.

No retirement benefits?

Art. 300 of the Labor Code of the Philippines states, “No lay-off shall be effected until funds to cover the gratuity and/or retirement benefits of those laid off are duly certified as available.”

Bennie Angeles, of the Sandigan ng mga Kawani’t Mangagawa ng Mamamayan sa Kamaynilaan (Sakamay) of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), said that even the already limited benefits of the displaced employees are still decreasing.

At the MMDA, employees are urged to avail of the so-called benefits in exchange for giving up their jobs, said Angeles who works as a foreman in Tandang Sora, Commonwealth in Quezon City.

Under the Republic Act (RA) No. 7924 which created the MMDA, “the national government shall provide such amounts as may be necessary to pay the benefits accruing to displaced employees at the rate of one and one-fourth (1 1/4) month's salary for every year of service.”

Angeles, 57, countered that they have also been informed that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has a different basis for giving retirement benefits. According to DBM, “monthly retirement benefit... shall be fifty percent (50%) of the base pay and longevity pay of the retired grade in case of twenty (20) years of active service, increasing by two and one-half (2.5) for every year of active service rendered beyond twenty (20) years to a maximum of ninety (90%) for thirty six years of active service and over.”

Gaite also said that the EO 366 is actually forcing the government employees for early retirement if they do not want their new job assignment. Section 9 states that “personnel who would choose to remain in government service but would later object to his/her new job assignment shall be deemed separated/retired and shall be paid retirement, separation or unemployment benefit, whichever is applicable under existing retirement/separation laws, without the incentives provided herein.”

Clearly, the Macapagal-Arroyo administration wants to streamline the bureaucracy and provide minimal retirement benefits to the displaced government employees. Bulatlat




© 2005 Bulatlat  Alipato Publications

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