House leader allays fears of ‘mass layoff’ in rightsizing program

MANILA — The bill for government rightsizing would not lead to “firing out, mass layoff, or downsizing” of state workers, the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations assured on Tuesday.

In a press conference, committee chair Karlo Alexei Nograles of Davao said the rightsizing program in the government does not necessarily mean that government employees will immediately lose their posts.

He said those that will be affected will have the option to be placed under a training pool to retool and retrain them for deployment to another government office. Another option is a separation package offered by the government through the rightsizing bill.

Of the 1.6 million government employees, Nograles noted that only about 10,000 to 20,000 of the estimated 200,000 workers will be affected by the government rightsizing program.

“Now, with the 200,000 state workers that will allegedly be affected (by the program), not all of them will be affected. If ever about 5 to 10 percent of the said number will really be affected by the rightsizing,” he said.

“This is not firing out. This is not mass layoff. This is not downsizing. We are just correcting the bureaucracy to make it leaner and trimmer, thus making delivery of public service more efficient,” he added.

In anticipation of the enactment of the proposed Rightsizing the National Government Act, Nograles said some PHP10 billion fund was also allotted for its initial implementation under the proposed 2018 budget.

For his part, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno assured lawmakers that teachers and health workers will not be affected by rightsizing program.

Last week, the lower chamber approved House Bill 5707, also known as the “Rightsizing the National Government Act,” covering all agencies of the executive branch to rightsize the ballooning bureaucracy in order to improve the delivery of public service.

President Rodrigo Duterte in his second State of the Nation Address on Monday called for the immediate passage of the Rightsizing Bill.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, principal author of the bill, cited the need to improve the quality of government service delivered by reducing redundancy and rationalizing operations, support systems, and organization structure.

“The passage of the bill will further ensure the long term sustainability of our government service through resource mobilization and cost effective public expenditure management,” said Nograles.

The Philippine President is granted the authority in the rightsizing of the operations of the executive branch in accordance with the guiding policies and guidelines under the proposed measure.

The bill seeks the creation of the Committee on Rightsizing the Executive Branch to oversee the implementation of the rightsizing program.

The said committee shall be composed of the Executive Secretary as the Chairperson and the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as Co-Chairperson.

The members of the committee will include the Socio-Economic Planning Secretary, Chairperson of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), and the Head of the Presidential Management Staff.

The committee will be tasked to create an overall change management program, including communication plans to effectively manage the transition and ensure the smooth implementation of the rightsizing program.

It shall also formulate the mechanisms to safeguard the welfare of employees who may be affected by the rightsizing efforts as well as the appropriate organizational development program.

Under the bill, the affected personnel hired on a permanent basis and with appointments attested by the CSC, shall be entitled to retirement benefits and separation incentives.

There will also be a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee to oversee, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Act to be composed of five members each from the Senate and from the House of Representatives.

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