Bangsamoro Government should hire displaced ARMM workers

19 August 2015

The new government under the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region should give preference to displaced workers of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao ARMM) in hiring new civil servants.

This was the assertion of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., chairman of the Committee on Local Government. In a radio interview, Marcos noted that ARMM and all its offices would be abolished once the Basic Law on Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) is enacted, leading to loss of jobs. Around 30,000 civil servants, are estimated to be affected, a majority of whom are public school teachers.

“That means all employees of ARMM would immediately lose their items, their jobs. Unfortunately, we cannot tell the new government who to hire as new civil servants,” Marcos said.

“I hope the new Bangsamoro government would consider giving the displaced ARMM workers preference in the hiring of their new work force,” he added.

Since there is no guarantee the displaced ARMM workers will be rehired, Marcos said he included provisions in his proposed Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region to ensure they would enjoy all their benefits and privileges under the law.

“We studied this matter thoroughly and we decided to include a provision to make sure those who won’t be rehired in the new government won’t be deprived of any of the rights or benefits they are entitled to receive under our laws,” Marcos said.

Among others, the BLBAR provides that the establishment of the Bangsamoro Regional Government should comply with the provisions of RA 6656, otherwise known as the “Act to Protect the Security of Tenure of Civil Service Officers And Employees in the Implementation of Government Reorganization”.

The bill also provides that “the gap in the length of service by reason of involuntary separation of an employee as a consequence of the reorganization of the Bangsamoro Regional Government shall not interrupt the continuity of the employee’s service.”

Furthermore, the BLBAR also mandates that “employees who were involuntarily separated as a consequence of the reorganization but who are subsequently absorbed or rehired by the regular Bangsamoro Regional Government shall retain their seniority rights, compensation levels, and other benefits.”

Meanwhile, Marcos said he does not agree with the view of MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal who compared the substitute bill to a person with no soul.

“I don’t agree with that. Instead of simply dealing with one group, we brought in the involvement of all the stakeholders, which we believe would actually add more vitality to the system of government in the autonomous region,” Marcos said.

The senator said the MILF statement is dictated by their position to press for the approval of the draft BBL without any changes.

However, Marcos remains confident that he can explain to the MILF leadership the necessity of instituting changes in the substitute bill.

“In the draft BBL, it is largely the MILF that would run the government. What we did was to allow other groups to participate in the process by giving them representation in the Bangsamoro parliament,” Marcos said.

“So instead of the MILF alone, we involved all the stakeholders. As I have been saying, we need the support of all the stakeholders. Otherwise we cannot be sure of success because we need the support of everyone for this to work,” Marcos said.