Friday, November 05, 2004

NR1030: No to lateral attrition

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release October 30 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Email: paggawa@edsamail.com.ph, anakpawis2003@yahoo.com
Celphone number 09213907362
Visit geocities.com/ap_news

Anakpawis solons to oppose Malacanang's lateral attrition bill in
Congress


Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that Malacanang is also
leaning on Congress to immediately approve the lateral attrition bill or "AN
ACT PROVIDING FOR THE OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE IN REVENUE COLLECTION THROUGH THE
GRANT OF SPECIAL INCENTIVES AND REWARDS FOR EXEMPLARY SERVICE AND THROUGH
LATERAL ATTRITION IN REVENUE GENERATING AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT AND FOR
OTHER PURPOSES" which was recently finalized by the House Committee on Civil
Service and Regulation second week of October. The bill is up for second
reading in Congress.

Beltran said that the lateral attrition bill has sparked protests and will
continue do so among thousands of government employees all over the country.
Beltran said that the bill was both callous and unjust as it attacks the
inherent right of employees to security of tenure and the right to due
process.
He said that it was unjust and immoral that the government is using its
employees as scapegoats for its own shortcomings.

"The country's revenue shortfall can be attributed to various reasons, and
certainly not the exclusive accountability of the employees of the cited
revenue generating agencies. Together with the new debts are new impositions of
the foreign multi-lateral financial institutions such as IMF, WB and ADB and
agreements under the WTO and other regional trade pacts. This means more
neo-liberal policies such as tariff reduction, removal of quantitative
restrictions, liberalization and privatization that has been bleeding the
economy further dry. "

Employees from the National Housing Authority, National Food Authority, Bureau
of Plants Industry, Bureau of Animals Industry, National Irrigation
Administration, National Printing Office, National Telecommunications Office,
Department of Environment and Natural Resources, MMDA, Department of Social
Welfare and Development, PTV 4, Philippine Postal Corporation-QC Branch are up
in arms against any and all plans of lay-offs. In the immediate firing line of
the attrition bill are employees from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of
Customs, and other government finance and collection agencies.

"The bill is essentially a retrenchment bill - a plan of action on how to
streamline the bureaucracy regardless of the rights of employees and the impact
on their lives an livelihood," he said. Beltran said that over 420,000 employees
stand to be affected if the bill is passed into law.

Beltran said that the lay-offs being pushed by the attrition bill are arbitrary
because there's already a specified number of employees that are targeted for
lay-off. "Arbitrary because the reasons why they will be laid are beyond the
power or control of the employees mainly the low collections of their
respective agencies and the worsening fiscal crisis of the national government.
Most definitely, the lateral attrition bill is, anyone would surely agree,
biased against employees," he said.

Beltran said that the system of lateral attrition is tantamount to 'technical
dismissal' and 'reduction in status' as far as transfer in post or assignment
is concern.

"According to the Magna Carta of Labor- transfer should be with consent and with
basis and contested (as sustained by Supreme Court decisions); but in the
proposed meaures, transfer is being a made a form of penalty. Due process in
mandatory in transfer and lay-off, but the proponents of the bill have done
away with it, and made the general considerations of collection the over-all
factor most determinant in the transfer or outright lay-off," he said.

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker said that it is usually expedient to
blame the the rank ad employees for the low collections due to their alleged
graft and corruption and inefficiencies.

"But as being exposed in the most shocking ways in the last few months,
corruption is systemic and systematic in all agencies of government. Selected
employees involved in petty graft were paraded as authorities' good catch and
punished, while the so-called 'big fish' - high level bureaucrats and cronies
are spared. Even the lifestyle check of the government was meant to demonize
the employees of the Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Internal Revenue in order
to justify the passage of bills that seek to reorganize and privatized the said
agencies," he pointed out.#

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