‘No mass lay-off, DAR chief says’
Employees of the Department of Agrarian Reform can now sleep well nighlty, until year 2014. They will no longer be thinking about being considered for termination of service even prior to their mandatory retirement from the DAR, at least until the whole of next year (2013). Their anxiety, remaining for weeks, arose from reports by some media in Metro Manila about an impending dislocation or forced retirement of some of them as a result of an interpretation of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s Executive Order 366 and memoranda from Budget Secretary Florencio Abad which hinted at a possible withdrawal of some plantilla items. Many DAR employees had reacted heavily and strongly, including those at the regional, provincial and municipal offices against that infuriating interpretation.
Many hardly imagined that the move could be resorted to in light of the fact that the senatorial elections would be in soon, with the filing of certificates of candidacy, for all candidates for all elective posts, set by the Commission on Elections for October 5. For them, the move was unwise, it being a “losing proposition”. That meant , to some observers, as a minus vote for administration candidates.
That interpretation had, however, been clarified. It was wrong. There was no such definitive move. Thus economic opportnity plans of some were not after all to be stifled effective either mid-August (last month) or by the end of this month. In other words, everyone can still observe an “as is, where is” situation or status quo. No movement, except for those who are already mandatorily retireable and those opting for an early retirement.
Thus, the DAR employees have heaved a sigh of relief. Subsequent clarifications have comforted them.
No less than Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes brought of the official stand of the DAR. He ‘belied reports that about 7,000 to 9,000 employees of his department would be giveng walking papers as soon as land distribution component of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program expires on June 30, 2014,” the DAR official website said last August 22, at the same time quoting the DAR chief as saying, “Definitely, there is no mass lay-off at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)’.
The DAR web news said: ‘The post-2014 scenario is still being crafted by the land management and the rural development agencies, particularly the DAR, Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Land Registration Authority (LRA), in close coordination with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). What is envisioned is a strategic and efficient set of reconfigured agencies that deal with agricultural policy, social justice, land distribution, land management, and land registration. There are no concrete plans yet and this is still being discussed. The post-2014 will definitely consider the interests of all stakeholders, particularly the welfare of the employees.’
It went on, further saying: ‘He disclosed that what the DAR officials submitted to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was a transition plan that would streamline the personnel complement of the DAR in preparation for the 2014 scenario, but more importantly, for the DAR to better achieve its mandate. The transition plan, he explained, was designed not to collapse the bureaucracy but to augment personnel in mission-critical areas while trimming down on non-critical positions in the run-up to 2014.
Non-critical positions refer to plantilla items that are filled up by personnel, but are no longer functional due to redundancy, modernization, and low land distribution balances.
“The trimming down under the proposed Transition Plan will not be through retrenchment but through an offer for voluntary retirement with a robust compensation package to those who want to leave under the enhanced Executive Order 366,” Delos Reyes pointed out.’
That’s the keyword: “offer for voluntary retrenchment”. That offer is only for those “who want to leave” the DAR.
Sec. Delos Reyes has emphasized that “(a)grarian reform is not only land distribution, but a continuing effort to improve the lives of past, present, and future farmer-beneficiaries of the agrarian reform program”.
For Region VIII (the Waray region), one latest proof of the need for DAR employees to stay is the vigorous efforts of the DAR to finish its Agrarian Reform Communities Project – Phase II (ARCP II) which it has already committed to ARCP areas in Samar and Leyte. Into such project, some local government units have already been deeply involved, and continue to respond to the requirements for them to access the funds and technical services that are being made available, even if these meant cost-sharing thru LGU equity, for their proposed sub-projects which include farm-to-market roads, among others.
From September 3 to today (September 6), mayors, municipal engineers , resident engineers and municipal planning and development coordinators, who compose the ARCP Local Project Offices, as well as municipal agrarian reform officers of some ARCP towns in Samar and Northern Samar have been undergoing an orientation, review and exposure to such requirements in a workshop at Hotel Alejandro in Tacloban. DAR regional director Eliasem P. Castillo graced the opening of the workshop which also saw the participation of DAR assistant RD for operation Reynaldo D. Villas and some of the provincial agrarian reform officers as provincial project managers, chief agrarian reform program officers (CARPOs for beneficiaries development and coordination, as assistant provincial project managers), and rural infrastructure engineers. Among the mayors that I readily noted there were those of Villareal, Calbiga, Pinabacdao, Basey and Marabut.
Other Samar towns rerpresented were Pagsanghan, Tarangnan and Daram. Those from Northern Samar are from Bobon, Catubig and Gamay. The activity bears the title: “Training/Workshop to Institutionalize the Infrastructure Quality Monitoring and Durability System (IQMDS) for Rural Infrastructure under ARCP II”, as contained in RD Castillo’s special order numbered 188-12, signed on August 29, 2012. Those from Leyte and Eastern Samar had theirs begun on Sept. 4, to end tomorrow, Sept. 7.
HATS OFF TO PNP REGION 8! – Congratulations to the entire Philippine National Police Region 8 leadership for its drive against illegal fishing and illegal gambling and for its successful arrests of most wanted persons in the different towns and cities of the Leyte-Samar area. I don’t doubt these good leaders in the police will continue to fulfill their avowed duties and responsibilities as law enforcers and peace keepers. Congrats to you all!!!
‘The problem of whether theory corresponds to objective reality is not, and cannot be, completely solved in the movement of knowledge from the perceptual to the rational, mentioned above. The only way to solve this problem completely is to redirect rational knowledge to social practice, apply theory to practice and see whether it can achieve the objectives one has in mind. Many theories of natural science are held to be true not only because they were so considered when natural scientists originated them, but because they have been verified in subsequent scientific practice. Similarly, Marxism-Leninism is held to be true not only because it was so considered when it was scientifically formulated by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin but because it has been verified in the subsequent practice of revolutionary class struggle and revolutionary national struggle’ – Mao Tse Tung
By: Chito Dela Torre
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