Press Release
June 6, 2010

Are foreign consultants indispensable, more competent than their Filipino counterparts?

Sen. Edgardo Angara urged the new government yesterday to uphold the public's right to information on compensation levels of foreign consultants and contractors in the government.

"This is in response to the country's unemployment problem and to give Filipinos equal grounds with foreign nationals in a competitive labor market, even at a domestic level," explained Angara. He added enacting the Foreign Consultants' Disclosure Act is necessary so the public knows if the fees paid to [foreign] consultants are equal to the benefits the government gets from their works; or that only they are capable for such jobs.

Angara has proposed to regulate the activities of foreign consultants and to require registration and disclosure of the nature of their works and compensation and privileges. The disclosure requirement mandates that heads of all government agencies and subsidiaries publish the identity, terms of and tenure of contract in at least two major dailies at the start of each year.

Foreign nationals working as consultants in various branches and agencies of the government usually receive relocation and housing packages. These are aside from a hefty monthly base and often preferential treatment in or stronger leverages for negotiations against their Filipino counterparts in the workplace.

"It is tantamount to ensure that Filipinos are given equal opportunities in not only the position itself but in the benefits of and professional growth that such positions or projects offer," Angara stressed. Angara is the father of the Ombudsman Law and the primary author of the Procurement Reform Act.

He also said, "transparency, in all its forms, must have upper-hand in the government. The public needs to know if we are indeed benefitting from the services of these experts at the expense of our own citizens not getting these jobs, and if only they are qualified to fill such positions. Otherwise, the expertise of our own highly-skilled and qualified citizens must be priority-harnessed and compensated for."

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