MALACAÑANG apparently grew tired of waiting for Congress to pass the enabling law that would set in motion the administration’s plan to streamline the bureaucracy that prompted President Arroyo to issue Executive Order 366 directing all department secretaries and heads of state-run corporations to prepare their respective rationalization plan.
With the release of the order, the government now no longer needs to wait for a congressional initiative to start cutting down the functions, agencies and personnel of the executive branch, government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs).
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the E.O. was prepared by Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin, who gave the opinion that a mere executive action can legally carry out the streamlining of the bureaucracy.
“According to Secretary Boncodin, it could just be an executive action and not necessarily having to get a legislation for it,” Ermita said.
Malacañang, earlier, was actually waiting for a law for the reengineering of the government.
President Arroyo invoked Sections 77 and 78 of the reenacted General Appropriations Act of 2003, the Administrative Code of 1987, and numerous jurisprudence of the Supreme Court in justifying the issuance of the E.O.
The E.O also urged constitutional offices, legislature, judiciary, and state universities and colleges to voluntarily start their own rationalization programs using the parameters contained in the EO.
The EO aims to transform the bureaucracy into an effective institution for the delivery of core public services through cost-effective expenditure management.
The heads of departments, GOCCs and GFIs were directed to prepare their respective rationalization indicating the disposition of their functions, programs, projects, organizational units, agencies, staffing, effects of the streamlined setup on the budgetary allocations, the strategies to be taken in conveying the rationalization process and the timetable for its implementation.
The rationalization plan will then be sent to the DBM for review and ensure that it is consistent with the objectives of the administration.
Those who would fail to come up with their own rationalization plan the DBM will take charge in preparing it.
While the plan is being implemented the agencies concerned are prohibited to hire or renew contracts of personnel, except for newly created offices.
For personnel who were affected but would opt to remain in government service, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) will have the option to assign them in agencies that are in need of additional manpower.
Those who would leave the service will get separation benefits ranging from P50,000 to P1.5 million.
As earlier announced by Boncodin, those who served the government for 20 years and below will be paid half month of their present basic salary for every years of service rendered.
Those who have rendered 21 to 30 years of service will get three-fourths of their basic salary for every year of service, while those who served for 31 years and above will get one month salary for every year of service.
Those who would leave the service will also get a refund of their Pag-Ibig contributions and a commutation of their unused vacation and sick leave credits.
They, however, are barred from returning to government service for five years.
For departments and attached agencies of the Executive Branch, the funds that would be used for the payment of the separation benefits come from the National Government.
For GOCCs and GFIs that have sufficient funds, the benefits would be paid out of their respective corporate funds. For those with funding deficiencies, the National Government will provide the assistance.
By Max V. de Leon