PEZA employees rally behind OIC Panga

Published December 9, 2022, 5:07 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Employees Association (PEZAEA) has thrown its steadfast support behind OIC Deputy Director General Tereso O. Panga, stating the reforms instituted by Panga are “well received by the employees.”

The PEZAEA issued this statement amid controversy hounding the designation of Panga as PEZA OIC.

“He has instituted reforms that are well received by the employees and is committed to bringing back the credibility and the respect that PEZA once had among its government peers,” the PEZAEA statement said.

Panga’s investment strategies to attract more foreign investors are also cited by PEZA employees as being aligned with that of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual, who is also PEZA chairman, and President Ferdinand Marcos’ Jr’s goal of industrializing the country.

At the confirmation hearing by the Commission on Appointments, Pascual was grilled by Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel over his designation of Panga as PEZA OIC, replacing then PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza.

This led to complaints of four PEZA personnel, who alleged that their services have been unfairly terminated, demoted, or put on a floating status.

But the PEZAEA statement noted that as government officials and employees, it is imperative that personnel put service before personal interests. The reassignment of personnel is well meaning and in the greater interest of the agency, it added. In addition, the movement of personnel was done after careful deliberation by the PEZA Management in accordance with PEZA policy to serve their clients better, the statement added.

“We, in the PEZAEA, firmly believe that an investment promotion agency like PEZA should be insulated from politics and that only the qualified should lead the agency; otherwise, it leads to partisan politics within the organization and disillusionment among the ranks,” the statement added.

For his part, Panga said that three of the four complainants are no longer with PEZA due to end of contract and they have no Civil Service eligibility.

The fourth complainant is still an active employee who filed a formal appeal with the Civil Service Commission (CSC), he said. “We are awaiting CSC resolution of the appeal. There is no truth at all to the said allegations,” Panga said adding they only came to know about the complaint during the CA deliberation on Pascual’s confirmation hearing.

Panga further noted there are only four complainants out of total 87 personnel involved in the transfer of total 593 PEZA complement.

In 2022, Panga said, he only issued 24 special orders (SOs) involving transfers/designations of personnel as against 104 SOs issued by the former PEZA DG Charito B. Plaza in 2021.