No mass layoff of personnel, DA assures employeesBy Jeannette I. Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Thursday denied reports it was planning a mass layoff of personnel, assuring the public instead that it was looking at hiring more people for its projects.
Agriculture Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Emerson Palad also clarified the Japanese government had not indicated any intention to stop the funding for the second phase of an irrigation project in Mindanao.
“There will be no mass firing of DA employees,” said Palad. On the contrary, the DA was continuously hiring people “to help us meet our major goal to attain sufficiency in rice and major staples,” he said.
Palad revealed the job contracts of hundreds of DA employees in the national and regional offices were renewed last month.
He said that during last month’s Philippine-Japan annual economic cooperation policy dialogue, the Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project Phase II (Mal-Mar II) was discussed as a candidate project to be funded under the Japanese Yen Loan facility.
The dialogue, Palad said, was chaired by National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Deputy Director General Rolando Tungpalan and attended by National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Senior Deputy Administrator Antonio Galvez, officials from the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as from the Japan International Cooperation Agency-Philippines, Tadayashi Yokoyama and Sasaki Takahiro.
During the meeting the Japanese announced they were still evaluating what part of Mal-Mar phase I would be included and funded under phase II, Palad said.
An aspect that was being carefully looked into, Palad said, was the environmental impact of the project, particularly on the biodiversity of Liguasan Marsh.
“Hence, there is no indication the Japanese government will not financially support Mal-Mar II,” the undersecretary stressed.
He said the clarification was being made to avoid alarming DA employees, the Japanese government, as well as the JICA.