NEW YORK CITY – I can commiserate with my former co-workers in Clark. Such pitiful and bleak future for them.

After long years of waiting for an increase, employees of Clark Development Corporation (CDC), are instead getting less take home pay soon.

No thanks to their so-called CPCS (Compensation and Position Classification System) that is set for implementation this July. As programmed by the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG), this ends the 12-year wait for improved benefits on a very sad note. That is an understatement though. It is even detrimental, adverse and at some point – heartless.

Ninety percent of the almost 700 employees are getting less take home pay starting soon if the GCG does not suspend the implementation of CPCS.

The remaining 10 percent are the Managers, Assistant Vice Presidents and the President will be getting increases. Don’t get me wrong here. These guys deserve what they are getting. But to the point of leaving supervisors and rank and file behind is unconscionable. I don’t know why inequity and insensitivity is prevailing all too suddenly when CPCS has been in the works for several years.

Coming at a time when almost every prime commodity and fuel costs are rising, employees in general need a reprieve not an additional burden. Newspaper headlines stating Clark workers are “up in arms” is more than an apt description.

The long wait for nothing can be likened to a boy who was promised to be given a toy but only to be given a stone that has no use for him. Or to a woman who so waited to walk the aisle in marriage, only to be abandoned during a wedding.

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While I will not go into details, the decrease in take home pay would be the result of a plus and minus equation where while there is an increase in salary per se, the removal of allowances, however, leads to negative effect. And that is just the monetary side that CDC workers bring home to families.

Also being removed now are other benefits like hospitalization and other health coverages. With CDC having an ageing workforce, workers need to fend now for themselves for check-ups, medical procedures and diagnostics. If one has a dreaded disease like cancer or undergoes dialysis and other special life-saving medical treatment, this removal of benefit might just bring them closer to unwanted early demise.

Workers face the prospects of their retirement pay going down the drain. Under the current employee benefit program, an employee who worked hard to get a middle officer rank who has served for, say like 25 years, may now kiss goodbye to about 2-3 million pesos they so await and deserve to get.

Yung pinaghirapan maglalaho parang bula, so goes the cliché.

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GRAVE INJUSTICE. CDC President Manny Gaerlan branded as "grave injustice" the adverse effects of the CPCS on employees.

There has been a long discussion between employee unions of CDC and the Mamagement side before the CPCS was finalised and given a go signal.

One of the issues at hand is the diminution of benefits which the principal laws of the land prohibit. They cannot be superseded by a mere presidential issuance. But Executive Order 150 is now being used as the basis for the removal of allowances, benefits and incentives or ABIs. This is the bone of contention now.

CDC is one of the best if not THE best performing GOCC there is, with a sizable amount of dividends in the hundred millions being remitted every year. With steady stream of huge revenues it can fund the grant of various benefits to employees. Some of them were granted thru CBAs with workers unions.

Now, these benefits are being stopped (and disallowed), with EO 150 and the CPCS as shaky basis in the guise of “standardization”.

Basic is the principle that in the crafting of any law or statute, there shall be no diminution of pay and allowances. But due to the definition stated in the EO, the rank and file will receive less than what they used to enjoy, including their retirement package.

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GAERLAN SIDE “My heart bleeds for CDC employees. I can not in conscience enjoy the 54% raise in pay (as CDC President) because 90% of my workforce and their families will suffer from the CPCS.”

CDC President Manny Gaerlan says of the brouhaha. I got to be him in New York few hours after they landed some days ago. In our meeting with Consul General Elmer Cato, he was visibly perturbed by this issue. He was in the Big Apple for some meetings with prospective investors.

WHAT MAY COME NEXT. Gaerlan, in a press conference over weekend, said that CDC Management would appeal the implementation of CPCS. CDC has thrown support to workers who are now demanding a status quo of salaries and benefits.

But that may not be possible because CDC is duty bound to implement the imposition of GCG. An appeal may take several months if not years before GCG can rectify the inequity and unfair rates. It has taken 12 years before this compensation package was bundled up.

Employees and their unions cam only exhaust legal remedies. CDC Chairman Edgardo Pamintuan, a lawyer by profession, said that a TRO can be had stop the implementation.

CDC Management can not petition for such. But the unions can and must. In fact, they are bent on seeking for a declaratory relief from the Courts.

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AN APPEAL TO BBM ADMIN. Aside from legal action, President Bongbong Marcos can order a stop of CPCS implementation. Workers’ unions are already crafting their message to PBBM.

As a former CDC employee, I join them in that appeal.

Mahal naming Pangulong Marcos, sana po ay tingnan ninyo ang kalunos-lunos na sasapitan ng mga empleyado ng CDC, sampu ng kanilang mga pamilya. Ipatigil muna ang CPCS na nagdadala ng pasakit hindi lamang sa CDC pati na rin sa ibang apektadong GOCCs.

As of this writing, I was told that GCG Chairman Sammy Dagpin is tendering his resignation. This means that his replacement, which may take time to be appointed, would require time to review the CPCS.

Double black eye there – the time it would require for finding and appointing a new GCG head and another time that may be needed for review. Meantime, employees already suffer the pain of getting less in their paychecks. Thus, only a TRO or a presidential move can halt a possible damaging impact of the CPCS.

We heard that there are other GOCCs that are in the same boat. I am almost sure that PBBM would not want a shaky start for his people in the bureaucracy, particularly the GOCCs which create revenues for the government.

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PNOY TIME. The sad plight of workers in the government sector started during PNOY admin when it ordered a stop to the grant of bonuses and other incentives among GOCCs.

It was a good move against those already in the red. One case in partular was the MWSS back then that granted so many bonuses and other benefits to their executives and employees even as it was not earning money.

It was a very bad move at the same time as it, like a shotgun, was fired with its pellets going indiscriminately at all GOCCs even if they were earning much needed funds for government. CDC, with its self-sustaining operations that it does not ask for funds in the national budget, was not spared. The rest was history. Sad, very sad history.