Abad, other admin people assailed
In behalf of the rank and file of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), we wish to correct the unfair allegations made and oft-repeated by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and other officials of the Aquino administration—that the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and LWUA, among other agencies, “xxx really abused the use of government funds to grant themselves so many allowances and bonuses that actually have no legal basis” (“Big bonuses await productive gov’t workers,” Inquirer, 7/11/12).
It seems it has become fashionable for Secretary Abad and some administration officials to always cite our agency, together with the MWSS, on top of their “horror list,” indicating that they are not aware that the two agencies are vastly different from each other in terms of function, operation and compensation policies. We are certain that there are other agencies that have more sordid records of alleged fiscal abuses, yet only LWUA and MWSS seem to be the favorite “whipping boys” for purposes of President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address.
Even before the present dispensation assumed power in 2010, the LWUA rank and file had already been staging a series of mass actions, in fact since 1986, to denounce acts of corruption, irregularities and abuses by high LWUA officials. We sought the help of the media and brought our cause to various anticorruption organizations, the Senate, different government departments, the courts, and the Ombudsman.
As a result of the LWUA rank and file’s vigilance, high LWUA officials were dismissed from office, but not before scores of employees were harassed and officers of the LWUA Employees Association for Progress were suspended.
President Aquino’s LWUA board has long removed our traditional employee benefits, which we were already receiving since the 1970s, including those agreed on under our Collective Negotiations Agreement.
Today, the LWUAns, particularly the lowly paid rank and file employees, are the worst hit by—and bearing the full brunt of—the drastic pay cuts imposed by the new, self-righteous appointees of President Aquino in the LWUA board and management. Due to the arbitrary action that virtually forced most of the agency’s 600-strong workforce to subsist on a paltry P5,000 a month net pay (as mandated in the General Appropriations Act of 2012) since February this year, many employees are hard pressed to meet their financial needs and obligations, forcing some of them to forego their children’s schooling.
For Secretary Abad and some Aquino administration officials, to continue maligning LWUA—including its employees as if we have done nothing in more than three decades but to give ourselves undeserved allowances and bonuses—is the height of callousness, hypocrisy or utter blindness.
—ALEXANDER P. BULICATIN,
Association for Progress
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