THE Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Wednesday defended its rationalization plan after some of its employees have asked a court to nullify it.
PCSO Chairman Margarita Juico said the rationalization plan underwent regular process adding that the Sweepstakes Employees Union (SEU) participated in all its phases.
She issued the statement in response to the SEU’s filing of a Petition for Certiorari before the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) seeking to nullify the Rationalization Plan because it was consulted by the board.
In its petition, SEU claimed that it “was excluded from the preparation” of the plan, which is “in violation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Executive Order No. 366.”
The EO No. 366, promulgated in 2004, provides guidelines to be followed by government agencies in the implementation of their rationalization plans.
The SEU, the union of PCSO rank-and-file employees, alleges that the rationalization plan was “crafted and finalized without any consultation, coordination with, and participation of” its members.
PCSO, for around fifteen years under several previous administrations, had failed to implement a rationalization plan that would allow promotions and hiring.
Juico said “the PCSO, being a government agency under the Office of the President, is required to implement the rationalization plan.”
For his part, PCSO General Manager Jose Ferdinand Rojas 2nd said the procedures under EO No. 366 and its IRR were fully complied with.
He explained that early during the present administration, “the PCSO formed a Change Management Team (CMT), with SEU representatives as members to prepare the agency’s rationalization plan with the assistance of PCSO’s Administrative Sector.”
The proposed rationalization plan that was collectively developed was then submitted to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in February 2012.
DBM suggested some changes, after which the revised plan was sent to the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) for its final review and approval in February 2012.
On April 1 this year, the GCG approved the proposed plan and directed PCSO to implement it within two months.
To minimize the number of employees who would be affected, PCSO asked the Civil Service Commission (CSC) through its Director Arturo SJ Panaligan if the implementation could be done in phases.
With the CSC’s approval, PCSO and the SEU agreed to implement the plan in three phases.
During the first phase, employees were placed in equivalent or comparable positions. If there were no corresponding positions in the rationalization plan, employees were placed in the next lower positions, taking into consideration qualifications and civil service eligibilities.
In the second phase, qualified employees were placed in higher positions in line with applicable CSC rules on promotion.
Because of numerous complaints regarding the results of the second phase, the CMT and the PCSO Board invalidated the results and directed employees to submit applications to the available positions.
An Organizational Appointments Committee (OAC) was then created, with SEU officers as members, to screen and assess employee qualifications to the positions they applied for.
To further eliminate bias during the process, employees were assigned random-generated numbers; the identity of the employees was decoded only after the results of assessments were submitted by the CMT Secretariat.
The results of the re-implemented second phase was then presented to the CMT for its deliberation. On 27 August 2013, the Board approved CMT Resolutions 17 and 18 which recommended the approval of the final placement of employees.
“During the implementation, PCSO was also guided by the CSC on matters that needed clarification. The majority of employees are satisfied with the outcome of the first two phases,” Rojas said.
Although they understand the sentiments of those who were displaced especially through lack of qualifications under the law, Rojas said, PCSO was not remiss in assisting employees to secure qualifications.
“We even sponsored a civil service exam review the other year for nearly 400 takers, of whom only four passed,” he added.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO