Two employees unions of the University of the Philippines in a joint statement expressed their opposition to the latest plan to accelerate the privatization of government services which, they said, makes government employees the sacrificial lambs in the government’s inability to raise sufficient revenues and to curtail public spending.
By LYN V. RAMO
BAGUIO CITY— Two employees unions of the University of the Philippines in a joint statement expressed their opposition to the latest plan to accelerate the privatization of government services which, they said, makes government employees the sacrificial lambs in the government’s inability to raise sufficient revenues and to curtail public spending.
The All UP Workers Union (AUPWU) and the All UP Academic Employees Union (AUPAEU) said that “payback time is here and the immediate potential victims are government employees,” referring to the alleged misuse of government funds to buy votes to ensure a fresh mandate for the Arroyo administration.
Clodualdo Cabrera and Judy Taguiwalo, presidents of the AUPWU and AUPAEU, respectively, also assailed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for not effecting substantial benefits to government employees. Both mentioned that “as government employees, we have not received any salary increase under the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.” On the other hand, they said, government employees have been subjected to increases in direct and indirect tax impositions by the government.
While the Arroyo administration went on spending taxpayer money during the elections, even before the official canvassing of votes for the President and the Vice-President started, a US-based investment bank and research firm Bear, Stearns and Co, Inc. has recommended the retrenchment of a substantial number of public employees in order to reduce government spending.
On June 2, the said unions observed, the Civil Service Commission’s Karina David announced a rationalization scheme that would reduce the government workforce by as much as 30%. David reportedly agreed with the other multilateral institutions and investment banks that the planned cut in the number of government employees would result in savings for the government.
The joint statement also mentioned that “government deficit cannot be attributed to a 1.4 million government workforce for a population of over 80 million people.” It said that various groups have, time and again, pointed out that the government deficit is principally a function of government’s faithful adherence to liberalization and deregulation.
These policies have reportedly reduced government income from import tariffs. Besides, the automatic appropriations for debt payments eat up 29-40% of the government budget. “Patronage and corruption also account for the deficit,” Cabrera and Taguiwalo said.
They said that the timing of the two news reports is but another proof that policies affecting our jobs as Filipinos and as government workers are formulated in Washington DC and in New York, both in the USA, as they likewise condemned the continuing subservience of the Arroyo administration and the Civil Service Commission to the dictates of multilateral agencies and other foreign firms such as the Bear, Stearns and Co., Inc.