MANILA, Philippines—The employees union of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is appealing to the government to “soften the blow” of the looming rationalization program that is seen to cut the agency’s workforce by at least 20 percent.
Leaders of the DENR Employees Union (DENREU) asked Environment Secretary Ramon Paje to help find “creative ways to mitigate the impact” of the program that would eliminate redundancies in personnel.
In an assembly on Friday, union members spoke out against the rationalization, noting that many of those who would be affected were “small, lowly paid workers” belonging to the lowest salary grades.
“We understand that it’s a national policy, and that under the global political economy, rationalization is the way to go. We also understand that rationalization at the DENR is long overdue,” DENREU president Julie Gorospe-Ibuan said.
“But what we are asking for is that the sacrifice need not be made by just the small, lowly paid workers,” she said. “The burden has to be shared by everyone.”
Ibuan said the rationalization should not affect only those in salary grades 1-6 whose ranks include drivers and clerks, but staffers and officers in higher positions.
The union also asked for assistance from the department to suitably “prepare” those who would lose their jobs by offering alternative forms of livelihood.
Under the government’s rationalization program, mandated by Executive Order No. 366 issued in October 2004, all government entities in the executive branch are required to review their organizational charts and submit rationalization plans to the budget department.
The order states that employees belonging to less significant positions shall not be forced to leave the government, but would instead be given the option to be reassigned to another agency, or resign or retire early and receive benefits.
But Ibuan said the union had been kept mostly in the dark about the rationalization plan, which would leave little time for those who may lose their jobs to prepare themselves and their families.
“On May 1, we will be in the streets to ventilate our grievances,” she said, noting that they had not had the chance to raise the issue with Secretary Paje, who has appointed Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio as officer in charge in his absence.