Press Release
June 5, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said Malacañang should bear the blame for the Senates decision to scrap the P10 billion funding for the so-called rationalization plan of the government bureaucracy under the proposed P1.053 trillion national budget for this year.

Pimentel said this particular lump sum appropriation was originally allocated by the Palace under the 2005 general appropriations act and reinstated under the 2006 GAA. And yet, he said the funds has been lying idle since last year because the Palace has not bothered to submit any specific legislative measure to implement the much-touted rationalization plan, that was supposed to remove the excess fat and reengineer the bureaucracy.

We are not opposed to the rationalization program. We are in fact supporting it. But how can we justify the allocation of P10 billion for the purpose when the executive branch has not identified the government agencies that will be abolished, or restructured and the corresponding officials and employees who will be terminated or retired? the minority leader said.

Pimentel said that admittedly there are bureaus, commissions and agencies that have outlived their usefulness, have become obsolete and performing unnecessary or redundant functions and therefore should be phased out for the sake of economical and efficient government operations.

Moreover, the senator from Mindanao said the sourcing of the fund for the rationalization program is unclear. It was earlier reported that Malacañang plans to avail of financing from the World Bank to bankroll the program in terms of separation or retirement package for the affected state workers.

More than a year ago, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Executive Order No. 366 to reorganize the executive branch and provide incentives to state employees, who will opt to retire or leave the service in a bid to downsize the top-heavy bureaucracy and generate savings that could be rechanneled to essential projects.

But the rationalization program has become controversial as government employees concerned have decried the lack of guidelines for the reorganization, as well as lack of transparency and limited participation of public sector unions in formulating the parameters and evaluating the performance of agencies.

Pimentel said these serious flaws gave rise to apprehensions that the rationalization plan was intended ease out even career officials and employees whose loyalty to the administration is in doubt or who are identified with the opposition.

Without clear-cut guidelines or an appropriate law, the rationalization plan can be easily abused by targeting those employees who are not supporters of the administration under the guise that their positions are considered redundant or useless, he said.

Pimentel challenged Malacañang to come up with details of the rationalization plan so that the Senate can intelligently review the proposal before any funding is allocated.

In the absence of a reorganization law passed by Congress, the President can only examine, abolish and merge agencies created by executive fiat. She cannot abolish those that are created by special law such as government-owned or controlled corporations and state universities and colleges, he said.

Pimentel said the P10 billion rationalization fund, instead of lying idle, should be realigned to important programs that the government is mandated to implement.

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