Union denounces unfair suspension of 139 NFA employees

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This article is available in Pilipino

A few weeks after the suspension of 139 staff and employees of the National Food Authority (NFA), the Confederation for Unity Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) condemned the Office of the Ombudsman for what it called an “unjust and baseless” decision of suspension. The employees were subjected to a six-month suspension following allegations of their involvement in the anomalous sale of NFA stored rice.

Courage says their office was aware of the anomalous suspensions. One of those listed is dead, while two are retired, one is on study leave, and many are wrongly identified. This means that the Ombudsman did not conduct a thorough investigation and the arbitrary suspensions were unjust.

“The ordinary employees and officers of the NFA have devoted their time to…implementing the mandate of the agency. However, they have been falsely accused, which is against their fundamental rights while they are only executing “ministerial duties,” according to Manuel Baclagon, general secretary of Courage.

The group demanded that the Ombudsman immediately revoke the suspension of the employees because it has paralyzed the agency. The employees lost their jobs and wages due to the suspension that did not pass proper processes. On March 15, the Ombudsman overturned the suspension of 23 employees.

“We believe that all 139 employees and officials should be reinstated to their respective offices,” Baclagon said. The rest of the suspended NFA employees have also filed a 26-page motion for reconsideration before the Office of the Ombudsman.

In the face of this, Baclagon announced Courage’s support in launching a “thorough investigation into the alleged corruption going on within the agency.”

Apart from this, Courage also mentioned that the Rice Liberalization Law’s (RLL) enacted by the Duterte regime is largely responsible for the massive layoffs and injustice experienced by NFA employees in recent years.

“The implementation of the RLL has caused a series of mass layoffs among government contractual employees,” said Santiago Dasmariñas Jr, national president of Courage. He called for the repeal of such law and justice for the dismissed employees.

AB: Union denounces unfair suspension of 139 NFA employees