Publication of vacant posts a must–Comm. Pompee La Viña

The Governance, Organization and Appointments Committee (GOAC) is one of the working committees of the Social Security System (SSS) Board. The other working committees are the Collection, Coverage and Related Matters, Information Technology, Investments, Investments Oversight, Audit, Risk Management and Media Affairs committees.

Manned by five commissioners, the GOAC has the authority, among other functions,  to review and comment on the fitness or unfitness of preliminarily appointed or promoted  applicants and endorse the records of the said applicants to the commission en banc for confirmation.

Processing, interviews and assessments are initially made by the Local Screening Committee for Managerial Positions headed by the group head where the vacancy is. This screening committee then endorses the records and its choice or choices to the Personnel Selection Board for Managerial Positions headed by the SSS president. Ideally, the SSS president endorses the records and its choices to the GOAC, which then endorses the records and its comments to the commission en banc for confirmation.

Vacancies, as required by the Civil Service Commission (CSC), are posted in the SSS and CSC web sites.

During the GOAC’s regular meeting on August 1 at the SSS Quezon City Boardroom, SSS management submitted to the GOAC members a list of 20 personnel promoted to top managerial positions for confirmation by the Board.

Queried by Commissioner Pompee La Viña whether the vacant positions were posted in a newspaper of general circulation, management answered that they were not, as it was a procedure in the SSS not to do so. Management said that, moreover, compliance with the CSC’s minimum requirement to post the vacancy in the SSS and CSC web sites has been dutifully made.

At which point, Commissioner La Viña made the proposition that the vacancies should have been posted in a newspaper of general circulation in order to invite highly qualified applicants from the general public. Commissioner Gonzalo T. Duque conformed with La Viña’s position. La Viña also required management to submit to the Commissioners the documents used in assessing the merits of the appointees. Members of the GOAC, finding wisdom in La Viña’s recommendations, indicated their conformity thereto.

La Viña’s recommendation that vacant positions should be posted in a newspaper of general circulation is a landmark proposition. Not only because the SSS Board will adopt it, its justness and reasonableness being beyond question, but also because other government-controlled corporations are predicted to follow suit.

The 20 names submitted by SSS management to the SSS Board for confirmation of their promotions all came from the SSS roster of employees. No outsider bothered to apply, which may have been probably due to the nonannouncement of the vacancies to be filled up in a newspaper of general circulation. True, the vacancies may have been posted in the SSS and CSC web sites, but since not everybody is using the Internet, the newspapers are still the most effective means of information.

The La Viña proposition comes, therefore, as the singular available alternative in the horizon for a just, noncartelistic, expansive manner of filling up vacant positions in government offices and agencies.

Although the 20 promotees who climbed up the SSS ladder need not undergo the process of publication, as no such rule existed when they were chosen, subsequent SSS appointees or promotees will have to undergo the process of publication.

Predictably, the SSS Board will adopt the much fairer procedure to fill up the vacancies as espoused by La Viña. The procedure is hoped to be employed not only by the SSS but by all government offices as well. The SSS should lure highly qualified people from the private sector to its fold. Moreover, it would be heartwarming to find Muslim men and women and indigenous Filipinos dotting government offices not only in Mindanao but in Luzon and the Visayas as well.

Observably, to date, appointments to government positions, other than presidential appointments, of course, are made by heads of offices. Canvass one or two government agencies, and you will disappointingly discover that appointees of the head of office come from his municipality, city or province, or are his favorite employees’ near or distant relatives.

The abuse of the employee-selection process through the malevolent and manipulative screening of applicants other than favored ones, or cartelism, unfairly deprives qualified applicants from the general public of the opportunity to be employed in government offices of their choice. It paves the way for the appointment of the incompetent and the unqualified. It encourages corruption, abuse and wrongdoing, since the cartelistic appointees will understandably be reluctant to tell on their benefactors.

Fortunately, there is no concrete evidence of cartelism in the SSS today. Nonetheless, publication in a newspaper of general circulation of vacancies in the SSS (and other government offices for that matter) will surely be a step in the right direction toward good governance.





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