Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and DevelopmentAuthority (NEDA) Director-General Ralph G. Recto said that pushingthrough with the plan to rationalize government agencies may not bedesirable at this time in light of the global economic crisis thatcontinues to threaten job security here and abroad. He explained that whilethe country is in a better position to weather the global economic crisis,the overall economic environment is becoming more and more hostile forordinary Filipinos, as shown by the recent string of layoffs in the privatesector.
“The last thing government should do is to exacerbate the problemby laying-off some of its own workers as well,” he stressed.
Executive Order 366 called for “a strategic review of the operations andorganizations of the Executive Branch” to identify and abolish redundantand outdated positions, with the end goal of improving service delivery andproductivity. President Gloria Arroyo signed the EO in October 2004.
The Department of Budget and Management, which is the lead agency in therationalization initiative, has so far approved the rationalization plansof four departments and 11 attached agencies, 11 government-owned andcontrolled corporations and 15 entities classified as “other agencies”. Atotal of 7,898 regular positions and 1,189 contractual/casual have alreadybeen identified for abolition, representing possible savings of at leastPhP757 million pesos.
“The rationalization plan as embodied in EO 366 was conceptualized during atime when our economic situation was a lot better, when prospects werebrighter and optimism was on the rise. The plan and its drafters also hadvery good intentions. Unfortunately, our situation has changeddramatically, and we have to take these changes into account,” Recto added.
The Department of Labor and Employment said that as of January 26, 18,000workers had been retrenched while 33,000 had their working hours reduced asmore firms downscale or shut down their operations.
“It’s all a matter of timing. While we want to see changes in theorganization of some executive agencies so they can perform better,laying-off thousands of government workers during a time when the globaleconomy is slowing and private enterprises are cutting jobs runs counter toour objective of stimulating the economy,” the NEDA chief concluded.