Government as employment agency

OPINION
By Susan Palmes Dennis
December 22, 2015

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The government, whether the national or local government, is the country’s biggest employer and as such
it’s no wonder that red tape is rampant owing to its bloated bureaucracy.

And when government is stuffed with personnel, it not only delays but deprives its constituents of basic
services.

Without warning, a bloated bureaucracy can “blow up” a government’s budget, resulting in some
sacrifices made in the delivery of projects and services.

But this is the new normal for Philippine governnance. I thought about the government’s bloated
bureaucracy on reading a post about bonuses, 13th month pay, cash gifts, anniversary bonuses and
another bonus which is new to my ears called “productivity bonus.”

On reading this, I assumed that the salary of an average government employee is P15,000 a month. Add
the bonuses and incentives and then it would total P70,000 by Christmas.

Awesome it would really be for this government employee and his or her family that they would be
guaranteed a merry Christmas and New Year. With such bonuses, it would be fun to work in government
then.

Don’t get me wrong here, I also know that salaries in the Philippines could hardly cope with providing a
family nowadays.

I only want only to get a simple, layperson, non-academic explanation about why people see government
as a lucrative source of employment and why this is considered normal.

Not everyone gets the chance to work in the government. Only the very few who are blessed with
connections to incumbent officials and are careful not to flaunt it lest they be caught by the Ombudsman
or some such government watchdog.

There are those, sorry to say this, dumb or ignorant enough not to know what a productivity incentive is
and are simply content to receive anything that comes their way even if they didn't work hard or never
worked at all for it.

In any case, government as job placement agency had been going on in Philippine governance either on
the national or local governments. It is more apparent in local governments where patronage is the ticket
to being employed in the bureaucracy.

I have more questions on this, first of which is what happens now to an expensive education being
fostered on the youth as the ticket to gainful employment when the local job market is inundated with
openings for skilled workers other than those listed in four year degree courses?

What about those who took time and sacrificed a lot to pass government licensure examinations?

Government employees in years past were hired for their eligibilities and qualifications.

In fact before only the smartest found employment in the private sector. It was only later that everybody
wants to be employed in the government where patronage politics is crucial to landing a government job.

Hiring and promotion in government was based on educational qualifications and eligibility. The principle
on whom you know had been around in the 70s but it is more pronounced these days.

That was the time when degrees on master’s degrees were really earned. Those in government service
want to continue their education with the assurance that should the time come for opportunities for
advancement those who are in would be ready to be promoted.

Since it is only during the elections when supporters go all out to make sure their candidates win with
their end goal of being employed in the town or city hall or at the Capitol, I don't blame them for doing so if
only to ensure their livelihood.


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