100 terminated as Senate trims oversight committeesBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines — Up to 100 employees of the oversight committtees in the Senate were terminated effective Thursday, according to an order issued by Senate President Franklin Drilon.
Drilon had said that the move was part of the rationalization of oversight committees, which took effect last August 1.
“All employees shall continue to serve only until August 15, 2013 to effect a smooth transition in the management and efficient functioning of the oversight committee, unless their employment after such date is approved by the chairperson of the respective committees,” a memorandum dated August 13 and signed by the Senate President said.
“During such transition period, the affected staff shall be entitled to their salaries and other benefits that may be due them,” it said.
“Employees of oversight committees, whose services shall not be required by the chairperson of the respective oversight committees after such date, shall be entitled to terminal benefits to be charged against available funds of the Senate, subject to pertinent government accounting and auditing laws, rules, and regulations,” it added.
In a letter to Drilon dated August 9, the affected employees appealed that they be allowed to continue their services until December 31.
“In all humility, the implementation of the rationalization of oversight committees effective August 1, 2013 caught us by surprise and we were completely unprepared for such a contingency,” they said in the letter.
“With the realignment of personnel services in the budget of oversight committees, we were effectively separated from the services as the source of our salaries and benefits no longer exists.”
Some of them, they said, had been in the service of their respective oversight committees for more than 15 years while others had been in government service for more than 30 years.
“Our length of service will attest that we have performed our duties with utmost efficiency, honesty, dedication and hardwork. Unfortunately, some of us can no longer be accommodated as staff member in the chairperson’s Senate office due to budgetary constraints,” they said.
Their request to stay until the end of the year, they said, would give them time to finish their pending tasks such as the liquidation of cash advances, turnover of office equipment, furniture and other properties, among others.
A “statement of concern” issued by the Senate employees’ union – Sandigan ng mga Emplyeadong Nagkakaisa sa Adhikain ng Demokratikong Organisasyon – placed the number of personnel, who will be affected by the rationalization move from 86 to 100.
“We are not talking about 86 or around 100 displaced employees alone. We are talking about the effects of this dislocation to their families,” the union said.
“Our co-workers are not ready for this unfortunate event nor even their families, not to mention that these employees have faithfully served the Senate for over 14 years with some of the committees in existence for more than 10 years,” it further said.
From more than 30 oversight committees, Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said the number would be cut to 20, a move that is expected to generate P140 million savings in 2013.