“The rationalization that we need is a program that regularizes employees and hires more non-teaching personnel as support staff in schools.” – Manila Public School Teachers Association
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – More than7,000 non-teaching personnel under the Department of Education (DepEd) will be losing their jobs when the full blown Rationalization Plan of the government is implemented this March, according to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).
Randy Rigor, 38, is one of the 7,000 non-teaching personnel who will be affected of the rationalization plan this month. The said rationalization plan will affect non-teaching personnel of the DepEd Central Office and all the regional and division offices in the country except for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and non-teaching personnel in divisions created in 2013 and those who are under the plantilla of their respective schools.
Rigor is working in the utilities department of Moises Salvador Elementary School in Sampaloc, Manila under the DepEd plantilla.
The rationalization plan is mandated by the Executive Order 366, which was signed by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2004. Its main objective is to streamline government expenses for personnel services.
The first to be affected by the rationalization plan were contractual and casual employees who were axed from work last December 15. Regular employees on the other hand have two options: early retirement/separation or to stay in government service but their permanent status would be converted into co-terminus with the incumbent (CTI) status. This means that the appointment is co-existent with the appointee; the position will be abolished after the appointee resigns, retires or is terminated from the service.
In a meeting with non-teaching personnel in Manila last year, Rigor said DepEd Undersecretary Rizalino Rivera discussed with them their options. “Undersecretary Rivera guaranteed us that those who will choose early retirement will receive a retirement package according to years of services. Those who choose the co-terminus to incumbent option will be in floating status. We will be put in the Civil Service Commission pool of employees and we will have to wait if any vacant position will be available in another government agency,” Rigor told Bulatlat.com in an interview. He added that Rivera said they will still receive their monthly salary but with no benefits. Rigor is one of the employees who opted for the CTI.
Rigor said they were told by Rizalino that until the rationalization plan is fully implemented they will still be receiving their salaries. “But those who chose the early retirement option said that they still have not received their salaries for February. What if they do the same thing to us?”
“We want an assurance that we will indeed get our salaries, including those who will avail of early retirement.” Better still, Rigor said, the rationalization plan should be junked.
Rigor is the only non-teaching personnel who mustered the courage to speak publicly against the rationalization plan that is being implemented by the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III. According to ACT, non-teaching personnel who are to be affected by the rationalization plan are being threatened by their principals no to talk about it in public.
“The hiring of non-teaching personnel is really needed in public schools. Who will maintain the cleanliness of the school? The teachers? The students?” Rigor said.
Louie Zabala, president of the Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPTSA), said once the rationalization plan has been fully implemented, the government will outsource the hiring of security guards, janitors and clerks. “This means that these employees will be receiving meager salaries and no benefits.”
According to Zabala, at present, schools are already lacking in support staff. “Teachers are compelled to do extra tasks such as cleaning the school.
ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio said that every year the biggest savings of government is on teachers and other school staff, along with those in other sectors. “This policy of tightening the belt of the education sector forces teaching and non-teaching personnel to live with starvation salaries and take on the workload of several persons due to lack of items.”
Zabala lambasted the plan saying that while the government is crippling the education sector, billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money are just being misused in corruption. “The pork barrel scam proved that there is money that the government can spend in education. The President even has trillions of pesos in lump sum discretionary funds.”