Post date: Apr 8, 2014 12:54:11 PM

by: Maila M. Capulong

When was the last time you took a risk? Not something major and life-threatening, but something that represented a step outside your comfort zone. Can you recall a time recently when you did something that felt uncomfortable for you?

“Life moves on, and so should we.” a famous quote by Spencer Johnson, author of Who Moved My Cheese. This timeless allegory reveals profound truths to individuals and organizations dealing with change. We/each of us live in a "Maze", a metaphor for the agencies or organizations we work with, the communities we live in, the families we love, places where we look for the things we want in life, "Cheese". It may be an enjoyable career in our present position, loving relationships, wealth, or spiritual peace of mind. With time and experience, one character eventually succeeds and even prospers from the change in his "Maze”. In an effort to share what he has learned along the way, he records his personal discoveries on the maze walls, the "Handwriting on the Wall". Likewise, when we begin to see the "writing on the wall", we discover the simplicity and necessity of adapting to change. Full of modern day insight, the story of Who Moved My Cheese invites individuals and organizations to enjoy less stress and more success by learning to deal with the inevitable change.

This allegory is now the main subject in the Deped Division of Balanga particularly, as it commences the full implementation of Rationalization Plan within the division. The implementation of Rationalization Plan of the Department of Education is an example of a major turn over in the lives of non-teaching personnel in the department. Change is difficult for most people. They like what they have grown accustomed to and stick with what is "comfortable." They know when they are being stretched beyond the limits of our "comfort zone" and they don't like or want to go there. Some are pushed outside of their comfort zones by other people or circumstances, while there are others purposefully push themselves outside of their own comfort zone to grow and develop personally

The formulation of rationalization plans by various government agencies was initiated by virtue of Executive Order No. 366 issued in October 2004 entitled “Directing a Strategic Review of the Operations and Organizations of the Executive Branch and Providing Options and Incentives for Employees Who May Be Affected by the Rationalization of the Functions and Agencies of the Executive Branch.”

Mainly the strategic review of the operations aims to focus government efforts and resources on its vital/core services and improve the quality and efficiency of government services delivery by eliminating/minimizing overlaps and duplication and improving agency performance through the rationalization of service delivery and support systems and organization structure and staffing pattern, as contained in DepEd Order No. 53-2013.

The order outlines the full implementation of the DepEd’s rationalization map in two phases which shall cover the central office down to the division level.

Upon approval by the Department of Budget and Management, the DepEd is given four months within which to carry out the two-phase plan and “place the employees and positions in the new staffing pattern.”

Based on the order, affected employees are given two options: Remain in government service through conversion of their respective positions from regular to Co-Terminus with the Incumbent (CTI), or avail of retirement/separation with the applicable incentives. They are given until January 15, 2014 to decide on the options given. The new set-up also effectively abolishes contractual and casual employees whose employment shall not go beyond December 15, 2013.

According to DepEd Sec. Armin Luistro the crafting and implementation of the rationalization plan were guided by the following principles: Clarity of Vision and Unity in Action, Rationality and Objectivity: Think DepEd, Individual Choice, Management Prerogative, Engaging People, Principle of Caring for and Enabling the People: “Makatao” and “No one left behind” and Matching People to Jobs.

Though all the stated principles are important in the over-all implementation of the re-organizational design the most crucial of which would be matching people to the jobs as it would determine how effective the rationalization plan is in the over-all output of the department.

“It is critical to put the right person in the right job and to give the right job to the right person,” the above-cited DepEd order further stated. I personally believe that if the rationalization plan is fully and properly implemented, we will see a leaner DepEd functioning more efficiently and effectively. If we only change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.