A national official of the Department of Education (DepEd) recently clarified that the department’s impending rationalization plan will not retrench any of its health personnel.

Dr. Juan Araojo, assistant director of DepEd’s Health and Nutrition Center in central office, emphasized that there will be no reduction of personnel from the health and nutrition units under the department’s mandated streamlining program.

“Walang matatanggal (Nobody will be left out of work),” Araojo told the Philippine Information Agency, saying that same assurance was told to the 4,900 DepEd health workers nationwide composing of doctors, nurses, dentists, nutritionists, dieticians and dental aides.

Araojo was with DepEd Undersecretary for regional operations Rizalino Rivera and some consultants in the city last week to clarify misconceptions about the rationalization plan, and to appease the tension and anxieties among the department’s health workers in Mindanao.

“Varied interpretations and misunderstanding of the rationalization plan created panic and agitation among health workers nationwide,” he said.

Araojo said one falsehood which came out and was circulated nationwide through text, stating that services of the affected health workers would end by December this year.

“There’s no truth in it,” he said in an interview during the conduct of the third leg of consultations held in Davao City which were participated in by health workers from Regions 9 to 12 and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

He explained that the rationalization plan will only tackle of moving people, but said that movement will take place within the department.

Araojo said that if there’s movement in the health and nutrition unit, personnel from the regional and division offices will likely be transferred to the district offices where services are most needed.
However, health and nutrition unit chief Dr. Mariblanca C. Piatos of DepEd region XI said that they still want to go for the retention of said unit to be under the direct supervision of the regional director, while the unit at the division level would still be under the office of the superintendent.
Piatos said that instead of transferring personnel, filling-up of vacant positions should be considered, saying that there is still an urgent need to improve the health and nutrition condition of the school children.

Araojo said that recommendations of the health workers that were brought up in the workshop activities during the consultations will be taken up as DepEd officials and consultants will discuss the final revision of the rationalization plan.

He recalled that the department was able to submit to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) its rationalization plan in 2006 as mandated by the previous administration under Executive Order No. 366 of 2004.

He said that DBM sent back the plan last year with recommendations of revising some provisions in accordance to the streamlining program. He added that said revision is due for submission to DBM by December this year.

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