January 22, 2006


Home | To bottom

Previous | Next

Nafeda hits privatization of gov’t agencies

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (Jan. 20) — Members of the National Federation of Employees’ Association of the Department of Agriculture (Nafeda) expressed strong opposition to the plan of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration to privatize and rationalize government agencies and reiterated their long overdue demand for wage increase during Nafeda’s 3rd Congress held at the National Irrigation Authority Training Center in Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet.

One hundred eight delegates from 21 government employees unions and associations of the Department of Agriculture (DA) nationwide attended the three-day congress with the theme “Sahod. Trabaho, at Karapatan Ipaglaban! Isulong tunay na patakarang agrikultura at pangisdaan para sa mamamayan at bayan.”

Nafeda particularly discussed the imminent privatization of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI). The association explained that both serve as the core general service provider of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to its stakeholders. Both bureaus also perform vital services needed for the general development of DA’s functions and services.

According to Nafeda’s statement, the privatization policy as a whole will give the private sector the power to operate and maintain the said agencies for profit. “The state will abandon its basic responsibility of giving services to the farmers sector in particular and the people in general,” the statement further read.

In addition, the statement also mentioned that the shift of the policy direction from public service to privatization would undeniably indicate the retrenchment of thousands of DA employees nationwide, cutting the services, functions and assets of the said two bureaus. “Through this system, the state hopes to pour cold water on the brewing protests and sentiments of the state workers and the people,” Nafeda statement said.

The Nafeda statement also stated that the privatization of assets, functions and services of the BAI and BPI is the general direction and ultimate objective of the GMA administration to make possible and hasten the implementation of its privatization policy.

Roman Sanchez, Executive Vice President of Nafeda said that their federation, with the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) and other independent unions have been fighting for the P3,000 wage increase among government employees for four years now. But instead of heeding the call, President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo’s Administration is pushing the Executive Order 366 or the rationalization of the government.

The EO 366 is the government’s national plan to streamline the bureaucracy by reducing the number of its employees to cut government expenditure. Enclosed in this program are massive layoff of government employees, abolition of the so-called “redundant” agencies (or those whose functions are similar to the major agencies), and privatization of some food, electric, and water services.

Antonio Reyes, newly elected President of Nafeda said that the administration is firm on pursuing the implementation of EO 366 in the first half of 2006, which will cut down jobs and security of thousands of employees nationwide.

Also, Sanchez noted that Nafeda has been taking participation in fighting against World Trade Organization which is a threat to the agriculture sector of the country. He said that WTO would only make us dependent on rice import because of the Rice Trade Liberalization. “This will kill our rice industries and millions will lose their jobs,” he added.

Not deceived

Meanwhile, Sanchez said that Nafeda is not deceived by the retirement incentives of the EO 366, which will only benefit those government employees with 31 years of service.

“Only 20% of the overall number of government employees will be covered by the retirement incentives, so majority that might lose their jobs because of the rationalization program will still suffer. We will not allow this to happen,” Sanchez expressed.

He also said that the government should give the people’s demand for the wage increase. Nafeda exposed and opposed the national budget allocation this year, which allotted almost 80% of it for the country’s debts from international monetary financial institutions. Wage increase could be given if the budget will be properly allocated.

The federation also continues to call GMA to step down from her “fake” and “stolen” position.

“Instead of targetting us to be removed in our offices, it should be Gloria Arroyo who should be terminated for she does not represent the best interest of the employees and the people in general,” Sanchez further expressed.

The government employees will conduct a nationwide rally on February 14 to junk EO 366 and continue to fight for the wage increase. # Florence Batawang and Katherine del Rosario/UP Intern for NORDIS

Post your comments, reactions to this article

Home | Back to top

Previous | Next