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Nov 19, 2008

NFA Philippines to Lay Off 480 Workers

Around 100 employees of the National Food Authority (NFA) on Wednesday gathered outside the agency's administration building in Quezon City to denounce a looming mass layoff.

Roman Sanchez, president of the NFA-Employees Association, said they staged the protest movement to urge the government to stop the implementation of the Executive Order 366, which would trigger the abolition of hundred of rank and file positions in the NFA.

“Hindi namin sinasang-ayunan ito dahil ang nakalagay sa EO 366 ay mapaganda ang services ng NFA. Pero paano mo mapapaganda ang service kung tatanggalin mo ang mga nasa front line service," Sanchez said in a radio interview.

Under the said order, the NFA is expected to implement a “cost-cutting" measure by laying off around 300 laborers, 100 drivers, and around 80 radio operators.

Radio dzBB’s Mao dela Cruz quoted Sanchez as saying that the number of employees expected to lose their jobs comprise about 35 percent of the agency's total workforce.

Sanchez said that the rationalization plan would not improve the agency’s delivery service for the public and support for farmers in the province, as claimed by NFA officials. Instead, the brunt of the rationalization plan is expected to be felt not only by the employees but by their families as well.

The protesting employees, who gathered at the NFA’s building along North Avenue in Diliman, said they doubted if slashing the agency’s manpower was really a solution to the mounting expenses of the NFA.

Sanchez said that a look at the NFA’s expenses for the last three decades would show that the money shelled out for employees’ salaries and for the operating expenses has generally been unchanged.

“Hindi po kami naniniwala dahil pinag-aralan po namin iyong data since 1973 to 2007… (na cost for) personal services and maintenance and operating expenses ay halos parehas for the last 35 years," Sanchez said.

In fact, Sanchez added that the NFA may actually be losing more money from the operational expenses incurred during importation and from the government’s subsidy program, than from paying its employees.

“Actually, sa ngayon umaabot na sa P70 billion ang losses sa operational expenses dahil sa dami ng ini-import at sa subsidy," he said.

Sanchez said the layoff is expected to be implemented before the year ends, pending final approvals from the NFA council and administrators.

Source : GMANews
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