Friday, January 31, 2014

Weeding out the Misfits and Incompetent in Government Service through Rationalization

The year 2014 ushered a new era for the Department of Education (DepEd) of the Philippines. The long-standing rationalization plan of the department pursuant to an executive order signed in 2004 is now being implemented. (Read: it’s PGMA’s E.O. not of P-Noy)

Rationalization is streamlining. Positions deemed irrelevant to core services were phased out or merged with other positions. Rationalization is long overdue. Government workers should be competitive like private companies in terms of qualification, efficiency and quality of service. The impact of rationalization is terrifying for the misfits and the incompetent who have found government service a haven for their kind. On the part of the government, it translates to a more decisive focus on pressing requirements of the service given the limited government resources.  

DepEd’s RATPLAN (read: rationalization plan) requires rank and file employees who hold affected positions to retire or be separated from the service in exchange for hefty retirement packages prepared by the DBM and DepED.

And not everyone is happy about rationalization.  Noise comes from all directions. The plan has adversely affected those whose length of service and salary grades did not warrant for a fat package. Others cited security of tenure and continued employment opportunities.

I bet people in the DepEd have heard of the RATPLAN some years ago. But just like many typical employees in government, they chose to ignore it.

Are we going to keep the status quo for the sake of those who disregarded rationalization? Are we going to save menial jobs because the affected employees lacked education, skills and spirit to get another job or start a business? Are we going to sacrifice effective government service because of humanitarian consideration alone?  

Certainly, job is about life. But I believe we need to draw the line between humanitarian issues and greater good of the government service. DepEd does not need company guards and janitors. Security services could be subcontracted to private companies.

What the agency needs are competent and dedicated classroom teachers to implement the K-12 Basic Education Curriculum, not security guards and janitors. Rationalization should also include the bunch of clerks swarming the agency with undefined or overlapping functions. I always believe the government is not an employment agency for security guards, janitors and whole bunch of people performing menial and clerical jobs.

Why continue paying for the services of security guards and janitors if GOCCs and GFIs were successful in subcontracting private companies for the purpose?

And now, for my prayer. As someone belonging to the Higher/Advanced Education sector, I would like to see how the rationalization plan among our ranks will take its pace and shape. However, the big shots, the powerful and the influential have chosen to keep mum on the issue at the expense of unsuspecting members of the organization. When are you going to lay down the plan and inform the rest of the organization? Speak to us! Respect our intelligence. Respect our ability to understand the complex issues and challenges confronting the Philippine Education System, and ultimately our job.