The 1st ERDB General Assembly Meeting for CY 2014 was held on January 8. 2014 at the ERDB Auditorium, College, Laguna. A total of 338 employees attended the assembly of ERDB employees.
Mr. Angelito Exconde was tasked as the master of ceremony and moderator in the said meeting. He introduced the new composition of the ERDB Executive Committee (EXECOM). The assembly meeting was a free flowing program and tackled the major concerns of the ERDB Rationalization and other plans/programs and activities.
OIC, Assistant Director, Dr. Antonio M. Daño delivered the prayer to give guidance and wisdom for each employee of the Bureau. Then, OIC-Director, Dr. Portia G. Lapitan opened the program as she welcomed the start of the new calendar year, 2014. She mentioned that the 2nd day of January will be the start of the rationalized structure wherein all bureaus, attached agencies and regional field offices of the DENR were instructed to adopt the new set-up based on the approved rationalized structure.
Dr. Lapitan also stressed that each employee has an important role to play to effectively execute the functions and mandate of the bureau. She mentioned that the new ERDB as a rationalized bureau will introduce new innovations in the operation and management of the bureau as well as effectively and efficiently implement the research, development and extension plans/programs and activities such as: (1) the conduct of regular quarterly ERDB assembly meeting which the Assistant Director is tasked to lead; (2) a team approach in the implementation of the tasks/functions that will lead to the achievement of a more and effective implementation of the programs of the ERDB ; (3) vacant positions to be filled up by qualified ERDB personnel; (4) trimming down of the contract of service personnel equivalent to the warm bodies of regular employees; (5) provision of health care and medical benefits to all employees (following the HMO of Mines and Geosciences Management Bureau); and (6) more opportunities for everyone in the ERDB rationalized structure.
The important issues and concerns raised in the open forum were: (1) how a Science Research Specialist II can qualify for a section chief position; (2) status of casual employees, now that the contract of service is continuously hired; (3) clarification on the basis of taxation of the contract of service and how it is computed; (4) how an employee can apply for one or two positions; (5) the process of scoring for the credible selection and new composition of board members; and (6) minimum qualification for every vacant position.
These various issues and concerns were answered such as: (a) a set of position Qualification Standard (QS) and duties and responsibilities or job description for every position will be developed and posted; (b) casual personnel will be hired continuously; (c) 5% as basis for taxation wherein this aspect will be further reviewed by the Accounting Section; (d) every employee can apply for two choices of position; (e) transparency on the scoring on how they earn a point in their accomplishments; and (f) should specify that the minimum qualification standard for every position is a bachelor's degree holder.
Other information raised were: (1) no employee-employer relationship in the contract of service; (2) differences between the minimum qualification and promotion, i.e. BS degree earn 0 point and MS/Ph.D will garner more points based on the criteria set; (3) preliminary screening of Grade 18 and above will be done in the bureau and to be recommended to the department for final screening of the Committee of Selection and Board and Secretary's approval; (4) review of character of the applicant and commitment to work are included in the promotion and selection of the applicant; and (5) no study or project will stand alone for implementation wherein the modality of implementation is the program-based approach.
Finally, Dir. Lapitan stressed that ERDB as a research bureau will generate and encourage researchers to publish more scientific-based outputs/results. Future scientists' accomplishments and their undertakings will be integrated into the ERDB plans and programs to put ERDB into the Science arena. (Aurora S. Jose, FERD and Marla V. Cambay, TDD)