MANILA, Philippines—The National Food Authority (NFA) said over the weekend it would abolish 1,242 redundant positions as part of its rationalization plan.
That amounts to a 25-percent reduction in its current 4,983 work force.
NFA spokesperson Rex Estoperez said there was no cause for alarm because the rationalization plan had been in the works since 2003 and affected employees have until March 24 to decide on their options.
He said employees in redundant positions would be given other vacant jobs if they are qualified and willing to undergo retraining.
Estoperez said there were 679 vacant positions.
In cases where job skills and positions don’t match (for example, for redundant laborers who may not be able to meet standards for a clerk position), the NFA has recommended to the Department of Budget and Management that their positions be made “co-terminus” with their stay.
“When they go, their positions will be delisted and we will not get a replacement for that position,” he said.
Estoperez said many NFA employees were nearing retirement age and some were considering leaving the government service to start their own businesses or relocate abroad.
Those wanting to avail of early retirement or severance packages (for non-retirables who want to leave), depending on years of service, have until March 24 to apply, he said.
Not due to meltdown
Estoperez said he still could not say how many employees would opt for early retirement.
“I suppose we will know for sure by March,” he said.
Estoperez clarified that the rationalization plan was not a reaction to the global financial meltdown but a long-standing plan.
“The NFA has been around since 1972 and since times have changed, we also need to make internal changes to become leaner and more efficient,” he said.
Not all positions that were needed before are necessary now, and as the NFA evolves it may need to create new positions not yet on the existing payroll, he said.
“But of course our leaner staff would be no less capable of managing our mandate (to ensure food sufficiency). The rationalization plan has gone through a long approval process and the government would not have approved it if we would be shorthanded later,” Estoperez said.
Executive Order No. 366 or the Government’s Rationalization Plan aims to reduce costs and increase the efficiency of government agencies.
How about the many Undersecretaries, Assistant Secretaries and Advisers in Malacanan?