COMPARATIVE STUDIES OF NATIONAL CIVIL SERVICE SYSTEMS by NEIL M. CAN LOBO Laguna College of Business and Arts Paper prepared for presentation at Civil Service Systems in Comparative Perspective, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, April 5-8, 1997. ABSTRACT The Philippine civil service system is a legacy of the country’s colonial experience, first with Spain and then with the United States. Spanish influence has been minimal, while that of the U. S. has been dominant in both formal structure and legal substance.
What has emerged in practice is an amalgam of both western influences and local culture and tradition. The independent republic has built upon the U. S. model, while retaining its philosophy principles and procedures. These include progressive personnel policies, an equal opportunity representativeness, and a tradition of reform. The politicization of the civil service, although arising from an American-influenced political system, is the area where the strength of cultural forces is manifested.
However, occasional and extensive reform efforts that invariably uphold progressive performance criteria, keep the system changing, while building on a stable institutional base. An application of Heady’s and Morgan’s configurations shows a system that reflects the hybrid and transitional nature of the institution. Instead of falling under ideal-type categories, the holistic characteristics of the Philippine civil service tend in fact to fuse characteristics that are even sometimes contradictory. This fact should form an interesting bases of comparison with existing civil service systems of both developing and developed countries.
... of many. People knew the system needed to be changed and would try to do it. Civil service reform was an issue neither ... is closed showing that the people, the many had no influence. The financial situation in the government was becoming an important ... ) Document J shows that Rockefeller had his tentacles, or his influence and power around every piece of the oil industry. That ...
2. 1 Introduction The civil service system in the Philippines is a product of its colonial history under Spain and the United States, although its present form and substance derives largely from the American experience. Now almost ninety-seven years old it continues to bear a strong resemblance to its American model, although in operation it can be more accurately be described as an excellent fusion of east and west, as one of its foremost scholars put it (Heady), with local culture changing considerably its original Weberian principles. One of the traditions that the Philippines has improved upon is that of civil service reform, which has been undertaken at least five times since 1946 when the independent republic was established. There have been thorough attempts at structural, procedural and behavioral reforms which always produced less than they promised. They all upheld the consistent aims of efficiency and economy, later on expanded to include simplicity and effectiveness.
Although never made unequivocally explicit, the importance given to these values can only be interpreted as concern for performance, the civil service being historically defined as the mechanism to achieve societal goals. No administration emphasized this more than the martial law regime of 1972 to 1981 (its formal termination date), the first presidential decree of which was a reorganization plan that designed the most extensive overhaul of the bureaucracy. No regime also felt as much need to prove its legitimacy, all the previous ones having been accepted by the citizenry as legally and traditionally legitimate. Martial rule was arguing implicitly that there was no better claim to legitimacy than being able to deliver on performance — achieve peace and order, change the social and economic structure, and deliver the usual services where previous administrations were found wanting. Historically, of course the martial law regime failed in achieving both performance and legitimacy.
This paper, after a brief account of the historical development of the civil service, discusses also briefly the following aspects of the institution: its internal labor market, representativeness, extent of politicization, public opinion and reform. Then all these are pulled together with the configurations of Ferrel Heady and Philip Morgan. Thus, by focusing on the details of the civil service as well as characterizing it holistically, we hope to come up with fairly good bases for comparison with other civil service systems. 2.
... from undue exploitation because the Spanish authority was preoccupied with the trade. The Philippines under Spanish Colonial Regime (Part II) The ... of numerous taxes and its utter insensitiveness to render service upon which taxes were instructed. They attested the ... purposes. Most went to corrupt Spanish civil officials, while some were spent on Spanish expeditions and maintenance of government offices ...
2 Development of the Philippine Civil Service The institution of the civil service in the Philippines came with the long colonial experience of the country, first with Spain (1565-1898) and then with the United States (1898-1946).
Its present state it owes more in form and substance to the latter, but the civil service, formally defined, is a legacy of Western colonization. Before that experience the archipelago that became known as the Philippines had not achieved political unity, and despite an active trading relationship with China and the spread of Islam in the southern part of the islands, its “cultural inadequacy” (Corpus, 1965) made conquest by Spain an easy enterprise. Spanish hegemony which lasted for more than three centuries is credited — among many positive and negative legacies — with imposing centralized government in the islands and introducing the bureaucracy as an institution, including a system of public revenues and expenditures. It maintained a predominantly Spanish class — the bureaucrats — who were distinguished from the native population by virtue of their special calling and their class status. The members of the bureaucracy administered the affairs of the colonial population as a whole in the latter’s name.
In accordance with the colonial theory that subject peoples were morally and politically inferior, office holding for Filipinos was confined to the lowest levels of government; the town and village. This policy is considered a master stroke by many historians. In the first place it solved the practical problem of having only relatively few Spaniards in the islands (as compared for example with the situation in Latin America), the distance of the colony from the metropolis being a disincentive to Spaniards to settle even temporarily in the Philippines. The policy and the practice also made it much easier for the Spaniards to impose exactions since the agents acting for the regime were not only Filipinos themselves but were leaders of pre-Spanish society whom the masses were accustomed to obeying. The outstanding characteristic of the Spanish colonial bureaucracy in the Philippines was the wide discrepancy between the letter of the law which upheld idealistic and noble standards and actual practice which was repressive and oppressive. This fact proved ultimately fatal to the regime and explains at least partly the lack of enduring influences of that experience on the present-day bureaucracy.
... in late 80's and early 90's, the Japanese government made two major macroeconomic policy mistakes. In 1986 when, following the ... encouraged to shift their production overseas in order to better service export markets.
The Filipinos won in their revolution against Spain and they established a government that embodied the ideals they had fought for: a representative and democratic system, that included a tripartite division of powers and a structure for local governance. However, this effort at independence was short-lived and the government the Filipinos set up had only historical, not a practical importance, for hardly had their revolution against Spain succeeded than a new colonial power took over and remained in the country until 1946. The American regime introduced a bureaucracy whose philosophy and principles represented a complete change from that of the Spanish period. The timing of its introduction (the legislation which established the Philippine civil service in 1900 was one of the first laws passed by the Philippine Commission) was also fortuitous, for by the 1900 s the American civil service had undergone a stormy development which resulted in the upholding of the principle of political neutrality, in addition to the established ones of merit, fitness and efficiency. The new civil service in fact represented a favorable confluence between the ideals that Filipinos had fought for under the Spaniards, and the intentions of American civil service reformers who were eager for an experiment for their ideas and practices which the new colony provided. As it was, they could start de novo in the Philippines.
The colonial civil service not only embodied the established traditions in the United States but also constituted innovations for Filipinos. For the firms time the principle that a public office is a public trust was practiced, civil servants were made accountable to the public and the letter as well as the spirit of the law were enforced. In the early years of American rule the civil service was dominated by Americans. Democratic administrations in the U. S. , however, adopted a policy of Filipinization of the service which alternating Republican administrations could not undo.
... reason that Thoreau wrote Resistance to Civil Government was because he was completely tired of a government that could allow slavery to exist ... and others should resist America’s Civil Government. I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least” ... slavery, the slave has no rights at all. Slaves were made to work extremely hard. Thoreau had nothing against hard work ...
In any event, there were other factors at work which prevented pursuing a policy of a “government by Americans assisted by Filipinos.” Among these was the uncertain status of the U. S.’s stay in the Philippines, the issue being an important issue that divided the Republicans and the Democrats. Another reason for an easy Filipinization of the civil service was that the widespread and universal education system established in the country supplied a steady pool of candidates for public service. The easy mechanisms for entry by merit, the high prestige of the civil service in the country and the deprivation of public service of Filipinos during the Spanish regime all worked in favor of quick Filipinization.
By the time the Philippine Commonwealth was established in 1935 the civil service was almost completely manned by Filipinos. But the transition presented many difficulties. The new, independent status of the country in 1946 placed increased demands and responsibilities on its political and administrative system. The tasks were made even more difficult by the problems brought about by the Second World War: the economic prostration and severe physical destruction of the country, as well as the political amorality manifested in the vastly increased incidence of graft and corruption. The latter seemed to have been the result of the years of occupation by the Japanese when there was severe demoralization of the civil service and the various opportunities to subvert the enemy partook of the characteristic of patriotism instead of wrongdoing. Many of these opportunities persisted with the independent republic.
The Bell mission of 1950, which studied the conditions of the newly-independent country noted, among many other things that although the government inherited a “reasonably well-organized administration and a well-trained civil service” (Endriga, 1985, p. 145) the war and the disorder that followed had made it difficult to restore administrative efficiency. It further made the observation that the civil service system, “although designed to be based on merit, does not function in this way.” The report made a general recommendation that “a special effort must now be made to improve the public administration in order to give the people confidence in the government. It is particularly important at this time because the economic development program will of necessity place even greater responsibility on public administration. The success of the development program may depend more on the efficiency and honesty of the public service than on any single factor.” Many subsequent actions of the Philippine government were in pursuit of the spirit of the recommendation of the Bell mission. Thus a Government Survey and Reorganization Commission was formed which proposed organizational reforms in practically all areas covered by the cabinet.
... Jail” & “Resistance to Civil government” Both passages “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and “Resistance to Civil government” have the same general purpose ... which was the idea of Civil disobedience, not agreeing with ... Henry David Theoreau recognizes the unjust ways of the government and the issues of slavery. The tone that Theoreau ...
Among 16 plans which were implemented that had far-reaching consequences were those on: (1) position classification; (2) a standard pay plan; (3) the creation of a Wage and Position Classification Office. Despite such changes, many defects continued to plague the civil service. Official studies showed deficiencies in personnel management, the inability of the Bureau of Civil Service (BCS) to function with the efficiency expected of a central personnel agency, delays in the recruitment, examination and placement of employees; over-centralization of authority in the BCS; inadequate discipline of civil service employees; the presence of thousands of temporary employees in the competitive service; the inability to attract persons of high caliber into the civil service; widespread use of the spoils system and rampant graft ad corruption. The foregoing description characterized the civil service well into the decade of the 1970 s when the declaration of martial law by President Marcos promised the most extensive and wrenching effort at reform in the history of the Philippine republic. It is worth noting that the first presidential decree issued by Mr. Marcos was for the implementation of the Integrated Reorganization Plan (IRP), which was act of the Philippine Congress that he abolished, and which had remained u nacted upon since 1969.
The reason for this was that it provided originally for adoption in toto. In contrast, Mr. Marcos’s decree provided that “changes and modifications… shall be made from time to time, as necessity requires, to be correspondingly announced by me or by my duly authorized representative.” (in Endriga, 1989, pp. 309-310).
... civil service. This opened up positions, including those at higher levels, to outside competition. Due to the close relationship senior civil servants have with government ... half consists of the civil service. The civil service is essentially the mechanism of government, implementing the policies ... intellectual skills rather than relevant qualifications. Personnel would then be trained on the job ...
It was a blanket authority for Mr.
Marcos to do as he pleased. In fact, the IRP provided for regionalization, the reduction of the number of agencies under the Office of the President, the standardization of departmental organization, the establishment of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), which was a merger of the congressional and the executive planning bodies. As far as the civil service itself was concerned, there were structural changes and innovations to strengthen the merit system, including: the conversion of the single-headed Civil Service Commission into a three-man body; the decentralization of personnel functions to line departments, bureaus and regional offices, the provision of more effective policies on personnel selection, promotion, discipline and training, and the formation of the Career Executive Service (CES).
Through these and many more similar actions the martial law regime gave a strong impression that it was serious about modernizing and professionalizing the civil service as never before. In practice, Mr. Marcos also made the civil service more subservient than at any other time in its history.
Two dramatic purges undertaken in 1973 and 1975 through which thousands of government employees, including cabinet members were fired, delivered the message that the regime was not going to tolerate bad behavior. Also with Congress abolished, the President took over the authority to create governmental agencies and to make budgetary appropriations. The use of such authority enabled him to create more departments (later on ministries), to expand tremendously the public corporate sector, and to double the number of civil servants from between the period 1972 to 1983. All these were in accordance with the philosophy of his New Society which was to move away from a minimalist government to an activist one which would promote “national development, human welfare and social justice.” The new thrust also involved a sustained effort at behavioral reform.
The training programs that became more widespread than ever before always carried a strong doctrinal orientation into the philosophy of the regime. (Endriga 1989, p. 313).
In bringing about his reforms he was assisted effectively by two groups who acquired tremendous powers during martial rule: the military and the technocrats.
President Aquino through the four-day “people power” revolt of February 1986 ousted the Marcoses from power and proceeded to restore democracy in the country. She had a new Constitution written and ratified, re-installed Congress, restored the judiciary to its past strength and otherwise restored the institutions and liberties of pre-martial law days. For the bureaucracy guidelines were established early: the promotion of private initiative, decentralization, accountability, efficiency of front-line services and cost-effectiveness of operations. According to one acute observer: “this was the most comprehensive articulation of ‘bureaucracy for democracy'” (Carino, 1989, p. 12).
In practice, what happened was a paradox, given the democratic nature of the new government.
Taking advantage of its revolutionary character, the Aquino government resorted to a purge of thousands of civil servants through the expedient of reorganization. Such a move was supposed to be participated in by those who were going to be affected by it, but the dispatch with which it was undertaken made participation a mere formality. Those who were reorganized out of their positions were replaced by new appointees who did not enter the service via the traditional route and many of them came from the private sector. Such a development, perhaps justifiable given the politicization of the civil service during the martial law regime and the obsequiousness of many towards the Marcoses, however, provided such a marked contrast to the treatment of the military who of course were more loyal to Mr. Marcos and, as we observed, were a pillar of the martial law regime. Another paradox that resulted from the uncivil treatment of the bureaucracy was that, although lay-offs were rationalized in the name of trimming the fat, the number of civil servants increased considerably during the Aquino administration.
In one way the democratic nature of the new dispensation manifested itself on this issue. While purged employees could only silently suffer their fate during martial rule, those who lost their jobs found their causes taken up by the press, members of Congress and by employee organizations, the emergence of which was encouraged by a provision of the new constitution which guaranteed the right of civil servants to organize, although not to strike. There were other initiatives that sought to strengthen the civil service. The new Constitution itself gave additional powers to accountability institutions established during the Marcos regime. These are the Tanodbayan, which has been divided into offices: the Special Prosecutor and the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan (a special administrative court), the Commission on Audit, and the Civil Service Commission. The President also created a cabinet-level Presidential Committee on Public Ethics and Accountability.
Various agencies streamlined their operations and used volunteers as watchdogs to prevent graft. A Presidential Commission on Good Government was created, primarily to retrieve the national wealth plundered by Marcos (Carino, 1989, pp. 16-17).
The record of performance of all these initiatives has fallen short of their promise. The present administration of President Ramos has not taken any bold nor innovative initiatives concerning the civil service. Since it is a government that has acquired power in a peaceful transition (which the Philippines has not had since Marcos won his second term in 1969), such a continuity is to be expected.
Its main concern has been economic growth, where it has succeeded considerably. Its view of the civil service is a traditional one- that of an instrument for national development. But following current fads and the influence of lending institutions, it has resorted to various privatization schemes and has otherwise defined its philosophy to be that of steering, not rowing. A past initiative to grant the President the authority to streamline the bureaucracy in accordance with this new philosophy appears to have lost steam; it may be revived but there seems to have lost the urgency it once had. Other concerns seem to have taken over. 2.
3 Internal Labor Market Job Definition and Classification System When a qualified applicant enters the Philippine government service, he will find out that a rigid, centralized job definition and classification system operates in the entire civil service. That system operates through Republic Act 6758 (An Act Prescribing a Revised Compensation and Position Classification System in the Government) which provides for a system of classification and corresponding salary schedule of government positions (Sections 5 and 7).
The centralized system classifies positions into several categories: professional (both supervisory and non-supervisory); sub-professional (also supervisory or non-supervisory); and Constitutionally-mandated positions and their equivalent. These various positions are distributed within 33 salary grades, making the classification system one of narrow job definition. Positions, furthermore, are long-term or tenured.
However, civil service rules allow for the employment of casual and contractual employees, as well as non-tenured officials in positions considered as highly-classified; -critical; -confidential or -technical. The terms of employment in these positions are co-terminus with the appointing authority. Promotion Once in, mobility for the civil servant hinges primarily on satisfactory job performance. Current civil service rules encourage promotion to a vacant position from the next lower position, primarily from the same occupational grouping, and secondarily from related occupational groups. Still, the next-in-rank principle, must abide by the requirement that those to be promoted should be competent, qualified and with the appropriate civil service eligibility (Executive Order 292, Chapter 5, Section 21).
These rules apply for both first level (non-supervisory, sub-professional or non-professional) and second level (professional, technical and scientific) civil service positions. The rules also allow for promotion of an employee who is not necessarily next in line. However, the civil servant being considered for promotion must demonstrate superior competence and qualifications compared to the next-in-rank employee. The comparison is based on the candidates’ performance; education and training; experience and outstanding accomplishments; physical characteristics and personality traits; and potential.
Such rules on promotion and mobility contribute to the general stability of the organization. By allowing personnel to move up within the organization through merit and qualifications, the rules minimize dysfunctions and animosity from among the personnel. The rules, likewise, provide civil servants with a career development path. Staff Development As implied, human resource development plays an important role in the mobility, productivity and vitality of the civil service. In the Philippines, an integrated training and performance evaluation system has been in place for a long time for all levels of government personnel (Dans, 1977).
This system is chiefly the responsibility of the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
The Commission coordinates and integrates a continuing program of personnel development for first and second level government personnel. It is supported by every government department and agency, which is required by civil service rules to establish a personnel Development Committee. The committee provides support functions to management in selecting nominees for training, development and higher education. Generally, employees with permanent appointment are given preference in the selection and nomination of candidates for local and foreign training grants. Employees without permanent appointment are still eligible for nomination, under the following conditions: 1.
They are involved in foreign-assisted projects, in which part of the agreement includes training and scholarship grants for project staff members; 2. They are members of the academic staff of a state college or university lacking in either master al or doctoral degree, or in requirements for residency. Av ailment and completion of the scholarship / training grant would qualify them for permanent appointment or completion of residency requirements; 3. They are employees in highly scientific fields critical to national development where there are only few educationally qualified personnel; 4.
They had been personally invited by or nominated by agencies directly contacted by a sponsoring entity to avail of training or scholarship grants. Job Security and Membership While civil service rules uphold the security of tenure of civil servants, it is not considered as an absolute right. An officer or employee may be dismissed or suspended for just cause, following due process and resolution of either administrative or criminal cases filed against the person. An employee can be separated from government service through resignation, termination of temporary appointment, retirement, death, and dismissal or removal from office. The nature of the position occupied determines the manner of removal from office. Constitutionally- mandated officials such as the President, Vice-President, members of the Supreme Court and Constitutional Commissions are removed by impeachment, a process initiated and conducted by Congress.
Local officials follow different procedures: complaints against barangay officials are heard and decided on by municipal council members; those filed against municipal and component city officials are heard and decided on by provincial council members; while complaints against officials of provinces and highly-urbanized cities are heard and decided on by the Office of the President. All other officials and employees may be charged and penalized by their heads of agencies, the Civil Service Commission, or the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan. Dismissals tend to reduce the size of the governmental workforce, but only if these are carried out in a sweeping scale across the entire bureaucracy. A more recent attempt to prune down governmental size was effected through Republic Act 7430, commonly called the Attrition Law.
Passed in 1992, the law provides that for a period of five years, “whose appointment shall be made to fill up vacated positions in any government office.” Reduction would thus be gradual through an attrition process. The law, notwithstanding, government size increased from 1992 to 1995. Between those years, 90, 583 personnel (from 1, 237, 435 in 1992 to 1, 328, 018 in 1995) were added to the government workforce, or an increase of 6. 82 percent (Office of the ED, Planning and Management Division, GPP IS, 1995).
Part of the internal labor market are the criteria for pension and eligibility for retirement benefits.
In the Philippines, a civil servant is allowed to retire after rendering a total service of 30 years, regardless of age or upon reaching the age of 65. The employee is entitled to a monthly pension for life (RA 1616).
Those who rendered at least 20 years of service are entitled to a gratuity pay equivalent to one month salary for every year of service, based on the highest rate received, but not exceeding 24 months in addition to a return of his or her personal contributions plus interest. Job security can also be gleaned from the ratio of peripheral and core positions.
As of December 1995, there were a total of 853, 982 filled-up positions in government, including casuals and contractuals. In the national government, most (94. 03 percent) of the civil service personally occupy regular positions while slightly less than six percent are casuals / contractuals . In government corporations, the bulk of the personnel occupy permanent positions (82.
56 percent); the rest are casuals or contractuals. In local government units, the same pattern is observed. Most of the local personnel (75. 71 percent) occupy regular positions; the remainder are again casuals or contractuals.
In local water districts, 86. 97 percent are regular personnel. As for the whole civil sevice personnel, 85 percent (1, 171, 057) occupy regular positions while only 15 percent (156, 961) are considered casuals or contractuals. Clearly, the bulk of the ratio favors the core positions compared to the peripheral. A basic requirement for membership in the goverment service is the possession of educational and training qualifications and the appropriate civil service eligibility. Entry is open to all qualified citizens who possess the minimum requirements of the position applied for and who are “selected on the basis of fitness to perform the duties and assume the responsibilities of the position.” (E.
O. 292, Section 21).
Civil service eligibility is acquired mainly by passing the civil service examinations. The Civil Service Commission is responsible for examinations for service-wide positions usually found in the first level, while the departments and agencies are responsible for examinations for positions peculiar to their respective agencies.
The eligibility is valid and sufficient for purposes of promotion to higher positions in the same or related occupational groups within the same level. Outside of passing the examinations, civil service eligibility is also conferred to those who have: 1. graduated with honors in officially recognized colleges, universities and institutions (PD 907); 2. finished courses in scientific fields (PD 947); 3.
obtained a certificate of proficiency in their chosen arts or crafts, as attested by the Technical Education and SkilLs Development Authority (TESLA); and 4. passed the professional board examination (for example, for engineers, doctors) or the examinations for the bar, and are thus holders of licenses issued by the Professional Regulation Commission. Reward Structure Civil service pay is guided by RA 6758, which identifies the four main divisions of civil service positions and their corresponding salary grades. The professional supervisory category, which involves responsible positions of a managerial character, starts from Salary Grade 9 (P 8, 067) to Salary Grade 33 (P 50, 000).
The professional non-supervisory category is assigned the Salary Grades 8 (P 7, 540) to 30 (P 25, 000).
The sub-professional supervisory category is assigned Salary Grades 4 (P 5, 646) to 18 (P 13, 715).
The last category, the sub-professional, non-supervisory category is given Salary Grades 1 (P 4, 400) to 10 (P 8, 605).
As the grade progresses, there is a corresponding increase in the salary received by the incumbent. However, the differentials between salary grades are not uniform. As the salary grades increase, the size of the wage differential between grades also increases. For example, between Salary Grades 1 and 2, the differential is a measly P 396.
On the other hand, between the topmost Salary Grades, 32 and 33, the differential has ballooned to P 10, 000. The table below shows the average salary differential among the four groupings of civil service positions: Category Salary Grade Range Average Salary Differential (in pesos) Sub-professional, non-supervisory 1-10 467 Sub-professional, supervisory 4-18 578 Professional, non-supervisory 8-30 795 Professional, supervisory 9-33 1, 749 Part of the attraction of government service for prospective employees is the perceived parity of pay between the government and the private sector. In Metro Manila, the daily government wage rate of P 245 is 48 percent higher than the private sector’s P 165. In addition, government provides its employees with the monetary Personnel Economic and Relief Allowance (PERA) and additional compensation. Each is worth P 500, or a total of P 1, 000. Moreover, it was found out that in 1994, government sector employees led by a range of 8 to 20 percent compared to their coutnerparts in the private sector.
For example, public school teachers have fared better compared to their private school counterparts. In addition to the actual basic salary rate, PERA and additional compensation, civil service personnel also receive an annual Christmas bonus equivalent to one-month pay, cash gift, and honoraria. Heads of office also receive a monthly representation and transportation allowance (RATA).
Other than these, incentive awards are provided by civil service rules, to wit: 1.
Performance Incentive — salary step increments, for an employee with an outstanding or very satisfactory rating for the last two successive evaluation periods, based on the agency’s approved performance evaluation system (CSC-DBM Circular No. 1, 1990); 2. Length of Service Incentive — salary step increments, based on the same circular, for an employee with at least three years of continuous satisfactory service in a particular position; 3. Productivity Incentive — for an employee or group of employees exceeding their targets or incurred incremental improvement over existing targets; 4. Loyalty Award — for employees who have completed at least 10 years of continuous and satisfactory service; 5. Retirement Award — given to retirees who have rendered a minimum of 15 years of satisfactory government service.
Other monetary incentives are given to specific groups, such as allowances given to public health doctors and workers; Public Assistance Office lawyers and employees assigned in night courts; as well as deputized prosecutors. The incentives are meant to make the government service more attractive to these specialized groups of employees whose services are also popularly in demand in the private market. 2. 4 Representativeness The concept of equal opportunity representativeness dominates in the Philippines. This came as a principle introduced and sustained by the American regime and adopted completely by the independent republic. This is enshrined in the laws of the land, specifically in the Administrative Code (the latest revision of which was in 1987) which contains the following provision: Opportunity for government employment shall be open to all qualified citizens and positive efforts shall be exerted to attract the best qualified to enter the service.
Employees shall be selected on the basis of fitness to perform the duties and assume the responsibilities of the position. (Book V, chapter 5, Section 21).
Studies show that “mirror-image representativeness” does not operate in the country. In the early eighties, for example, data show that on the basis of religion, Roman Catholics seemed to have exactly its proportion of positions in the higher civil service.
But the Protestants, who constituted one per cent of the population had nearly four percent of the higher positions. On the other hand, Muslims were under-represented. While constituting five percent of the population, they held only 1. 6 per cent of the higher civil service jobs. (Richter, 1982, p.
Moreover, the Census of 1980 showed that the National Region (NCR), the Ilocos region, Southern Luzon and Central Luzon were over-represented in the national bureaucracy. At present, in terms of gender, females dominate the national civil service with 502, 630 females as against 351, 352 males. In the second level positions females are in the majority with 406, 798 as against 141, 062 males. Total female population in the bureaucracy (including the national government, government corporations, local government units and local water districts is 719, 592 (or 51. 18%) compared to 608, 426 males (or 48.
(Civil Service Commission, 1995).
This dominance of females in second level positions in the national government is attributed to the big number of female teachers in the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (308, 632 females compared to 56, 642 males), nurses, midwives and other health workers in the Department of Health (8, 888 females as against 3, 753 males).
Apparently, the principle of equal opportunity representativeness has resulted in considerable regional lopsidedness. The over-representation of the NCR, Central Luzon, the Ilocos region and Southern Luzon in the national bureaucracy seems to be a function of their nearness to the capital where there is an over-concentration of civil servants. The lopsidedness in favor of women especially in the lower rungs of the civil service is a function of economic factors.
Since the civil service pays low salaries it is the women who tend to stay in the service. The typical couple in the Philippines has a wife who works in a low-paying public sector job and the husband in a higher-paying one, usually in the private sector. The fact, of course, why there are proportionately less women in the higher civil service ranks is due to other factors, among them those that have to do with the stereotypical discrimination against women. Although the Filipino woman does much better in this regard compared to most Asian women and many Western women, this is a live issue among feminists in the country.
The only concession that equal opportunity representativeness gives to mirror-image representativeness is provided for in the present Administrative Code. In line with the national policy to facilitate the integration of cultural communities and accelerate the development of areas occupied by them, the Commission shall give special civil service examinations to qualify them for appointment in the civil service. The reference of the provision is to various minority ethnic groups, all of them non-Christian, who which continue to be economically and educationally inferior to the Christian community. Aside from this effort at affirmative action, none other has been taken in the civil service.
It seems that the value of equal opportunity representativeness has become so embedded in the bureaucracy that the lopsidedness that occurs does not seem to be a matter of concern. The only issue that has gained public attention is gender lopsidedness in the higher levels of the bureaucracy, but this is because it has vocal supporters. Advocates for regional balance hardly exist, except for rare complaints about there being no cabinet from Mindanao. We can now briefly relate the issue of representativeness to the political, administrative and societal contexts of the country. The Philippines has since 1986 become a multi-party system with the party of the President being more powerful than the other parties due to its access to resources and to the decision-making process.
Thus, although an equal opportunity representativeness is supposed to be in place, the party in power is more privileged in recruiting for the bureaucracy, especially on the level of cabinet and sub-cabinet members, in addition to many positions in any new administration which are “policy-determining, primarily confidential and hih gly technical.” Those who are rewarded with such positions are not only loyal party members but usually persons from the province where the President comes from. The country has an increasingly decentralizing administrative structure with many functions and assets devolved to local government units. With devolution, geographical representation should improve, with local government units giving priority in recruiting applicants residing in their areas of jurisdiction. The societal structure, with a minority controlling the economic and political resources of the country, appears to be in a unstable position, with a big majority requiring government-provided services like health and education.
This situation would affect the impartiality of the process since scarcity can only encourage favoritism. 2. 5 Politicization of the Civil Service The perception about the civil service in the Philippines that dominates within the civil service is the classical, Weberian sense, whereby civil servants are required to be politically neutral. This ideal is enshrined in all the legal bases of the civil service. Its origin at the beginning of the twentieth century, as we noted in the historical evolution of the institution, was the reformed American model which upheld the concept of political neutrality. Aside from the ideal of merit and fitness, it constituted a bedrock value for the Philippine civil service that was going to find expression in all the pieces of legislation governing the service.
The three constitutions that the country has had in this century (the 1935 Constitution of the Commonwealth era, the 1973 Constitution of the martial law regime, and the recent Aquino Constitution of 1987) all have provisions upholding the political neutrality of the civil service. In the most recent one the relevant provision is the following: No officer or employee of the civil service shall engage, directly, or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political campaign. (Article IX, Section 2).
The following two provisions reinforce the above: No candidate who has lost in any election shall, within one year after such election, be appointed to any office in the Government or any government-owned or controlled corporations or in any of their subsidiaries. (Section 6) No elective official shall be eligible for appointment or designation in any capacity to any public office or position during his tenure. Unless otherwise allowed by law or by the primary functions of his position, no appointive official shall hold any other office or employment in the Government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries.
(Section 7) The public perception of the proper behavior of civil servants, aside from being politically neutral, is supposed to include faithful implementation of the policies of the incumbent regime; responsiveness and loyalty to that particular regime, exhibiting chameleon-like coloration through regime changes. These characteristics run counter to what civil service principles, procedures and formal practices are supposed to develop: expertise through experience and specialized knowledge, long-term employment or continuity in service, which is supposed to foster independence and sense of its power. In fact, the civil service in the Philippines has devel / oped a tradition of subservience, instead of independence. It has been described by a scholar as a “dominated bureaucracy” (Carino, 1989) which throughout the history of the institution has always shown itself to be submissive to the political leadership, understandably to the American governor-general during the colonial regime, and to the Filipino president in the independent republic.
Such subservience reached its height during the martial law regime of Mr. Marcos. To what degree do civil servants affect policy making and implementation? In practice there is considerable participation of civil servants in policy-making, traditionally the function of legislature. Here the expertise available in the civil service is its main credential in policy formation.
Many pieces of legislation in fact are initiated by individual departments and sponsored by sympathetic legislators. A variant of this practice is for legislators to initiate the legislation and for serious civil servants to participate in the shaping of the policy. Specifically, there are in Congress joint executive-legislative committees the deliberations in which make policy-making a joint enterprise. On the other hand, even if implementation is a function of the executive branch, the other side of the practice is for legislature to meddle in the implementation of policies. The mechanism for this at present is the oversight committees of Congress. Be that as it may, civil servants have the most influence on implementation, for among other factors it is their disposition towards the policy that spell success or failure of implementation.
Still another matter regarding the interdependence of the political and administrative systems is the likelihood of persons from both sides of the fence to cross to the other side, career wise. In fact, the career civil service has not been a fertile recruiting ground for the political leaders of the country. A practical constraint exists whereby civil servants who want to run for public office have to resign from their positions, and if they lose cannot return to them until after one year. The traffic in the other direction is just as thin: very few political leaders enter the regular civil service.
But the strongest explanations for the politicization of the civil service in the Philippines can be found in the constitutional structure which provides for both separation of powers and checks and balances. The civil service reports to the executive but also has strong linkages with legislature because of the latter’s appropriation function. As we noted earlier such a relationship between the civil service and the legislature has come to be governed by specific procedures of consultation and law-making. The constitutional structure also provides for a strong president, stronger in fact than the president of the U. S. after which the Philippine political system was modeled.
The latest constitution (of 1987) has considerably weakened the institution of the presidency because of the experience with martial law and President Aquino’s own hesitancy in wielding power which remains considerable. Historically, the Presidency has exercised his powers over the civil service. One of the most common assertions was the power of reorganizing the bureaucracy with every new administration. All incoming Presidents always tried to get congressional authority for a general organization. They always invoked economy and efficiency and invariably declared their intention to reduce the size of the civil service to achieve those aims — in the process arousing a sense of insecurity among civil servants. The usual result though was an enlargement of the size of the civil service, for even if through various means several civil servants would be removed from the service, there would be enough room for party loyalists and province mates of the President.
These would include political appointees at the cabinet and sub-cabinet levels, and those at lower levels occupying positions of confidence, and thuosands of casual workers. Thus, because of its legal foundations, political history and traditional practices, the Philippine civil service is a highly politicized one. However, there are forces at work that encourage a growing independence. For example, the constitutional guarantee for the organization of public sector employees (there are now several public sector organizations), the improving qualifications of civil servants, and a growing consciousness of its corporate identify might yet result in the development of a professional and responsible civil service.
2. 7 Reform and Diffusion Improving the administrative system in the Philippines has been characterized mainly by structural reforms in response to changes in the country’s social and political conditions, and to emerging conditions in the global context. Such structural reforms have been carried out largely through the reorganization of the central government. Since the Republic’s political independence in 1946, the government has carried out five reorganization initiatives. The most recent of these was initiated by the Aquino government in 1986, after its installation in power. Another reorganization is contemplated by the present administration during its term.
Upon his assumption to office in 1992, President Ramos declared that “we have to reorganize the civil service so that it can do more — and do better.” (SONA, 1992).
Three years later, he reiterated the need: to improve the capacity and performance of government in the development process… (and) to upgrade the organization, operations and finance of the public sector so that government can do its essential tasks more effectively. (Ramos, 1995).
President Ramos’ desire to reform the bureaucracy is not without precedent. Historically, the initiative to reorganize the administrative system has always originated from the Executive. Likewise, the government branch in charge of the reorganization process has also been the Executive (Cola, 1991: 7).
Reorganization efforts have been driven by the desire to improve the managerial process of the bureaucracy. A study of the process of the five post-independence reorganization efforts show that the following management values have served as constant goals: economy, efficiency, simplicity and effectiveness (Cola, 1991: 10).
Conceptually, the primacy of these values can be explained by the tradition of managerial ism in Philippine public administration, largely influenced by the civil service principles of American public administration. This tradition emphasizes “efficiency and effectiveness in government,” and the “rationalization of executive powers and professionalization of bureaucracy” (Nakamura and Kike, 1992: 491).
Pragmatically, these are constant themes in governance that any administration would trumpet as its core ideals. They can also be assumed as reflective of the general population’s wishes. Efficiency and economy are the constant imperatives. Beyond these, specific reorganization episodes were in response to changes in social and political conditions.
The 1946 reorganization was prompted by “exigencies attendant upon the establishment of the government of the republic (Cola, 1991: 10).” The most recent (1986) reorganization was conceived partly to put some order into the “bureaucratic mess” of the “Marcos bureaucracy.” More importantly, the reorganization was meant to purify the bureaucracy of its Marcos ian influences, thus contributing to the de-Marcosification of Philippine society (PCG R, 1986: 12).
Given the revolutionary conditions at that time, it was considered urgent to transform the bureaucracy from an institution that had served yet chafed under an authoritarian yoke to a “bureaucracy for a democracy” (Carino, 1992).
Content of Reforms Like previous reorganization efforts, the 1986 reorganization saw the restructuring of the central government machinery. Ministries were abolished while several offices were transferred to related agencies.
The Ministry of Human Settlements, once headed by then First Lady Imelda Marcos, was abolished; its functions were transferred to other existing offices. Likewise, the Ministry oof Energy was also reduced into an attached agency. The Aquino administration saw further impetus towards political decentralization. Such reform was initiated to relieve national government of the burden of decision-making and operational efficiency at localized levels. Through a new Local Government Code, a devolution of responsibilities was set into motion. Powers and functions previously undertaken by national departments such as Health, Social Welfare, Agriculture and Environment were transferred to the different levels of local government units.
Privatization of government-owned and controlled corporations as well as other public enterprises was also initiated. Big-ticket items such as the Philippine National Bank, Philippine Airlines, National Steel Corporation, and Petr on were opened to private ownership or to general public subscription through shares. The withdrawal of government from direct management and operation of these enterprises followed the assessment that it has overextended its reach and presence in the economy, even competing with the private sector in the direct production of goods and services. Diffusion: External Factors and Influences To an extent, past reforms of the administrative system under the Aquino administration were also in response to changes in global conditions. The renewed emphasis on efficiency and economy is shaped by the view that the whole Philippine economy has to maximize its competitive position and advantages in relation to the global market. Present reforms, as called for by the current President, are also founded on the need to streamline the bureaucracy and to transform it into a competitive force in a rapidly changing and invasive global context.
Such motivation is further reinforced by the emerging literature on the East Asian countries’ economic success. The role of a competent, relatively autonomous and professional civil service in the economic progress of these countries has been well-documented and serves as a prerequisite for reform in any country aspiring to become an economic dragon. Until recently, governmental actions particularly in the economic sphere have been undertaken within an international order where multilateral financing institutions play a dominating influence. The privatization policy of the government has not escaped this net of influence. A particular view looks at such multi-lateral funding institutions (MFIs) as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as influential in the formulation and implementation of the government’s privatization policy (Briones and Soza; see also Go uri).
It was the MFIs which were instrumental in the growth of the public enterprise sector in the Philippines; they were also responsible, along with the government, in formulating a policy framework for its rationalization.
The privatization policy is considered as much a product of the Philippine government as of the MFIs (Briones and Soza, 1988).
Reforms are thus conditioned by motivations from within and without the entire governmental system. From within, the managerial ist values of efficiency, rationality and economy have been constantly pursued within the context of the country’s social and political conditions. From without, global historical conditions and events, and actions and policy preferences of multilateral institutions, provide the defining conditions for reorganization.
2. 9 Concluding Remarks It is now possible, and necessary, to summarize the preceding and rather involved exposition. In the historical development of the civil service, we noted the institution to be a colonial legacy of both Spain and the United States, with the influence of the latter dominating in terms of the philosophy, principles, and formal practices of the institution. In practice what emerged was, perhaps inevitably, an amalgam of idealistic legal foundations and the imperatives of native culture, resulting in a rather interesting hybrid that seems to characterize countries with a similar historical experience. Despite that character of the institution it has an underlying stability that has not been shaken through the changes in the political system that has swung from a formal democracy to an authoritarian system, and back again to democracy. Through such shifts we note the fairly steady character of the following aspects of the institution: 1.
The internal market from the very beginning has always been characterized by enlightened principles regarding its job definition and classification system, deployment rules, job security rules and reward structures. The basic explanation for this is that the system was lifted practically in toto from its reformed American model to another setting. In practice, the system operated not always in accordance with legal provisions, but the latter became the basis of continuing improvements exemplified by various reorganization and reform efforts. 2. Representativeness was a concern of the system from its beginnings, and in this case equal opportunity representativeness was the guiding principle.
The system has never deviated from this, although there have been more recent efforts towards affirmative action to benefit the country’s cultural minorities. 3. Again, just like its American model, the Philippine civil service is politicized. The constitutional and legal traditions, also heavily borrowed from the U. S. offer basic explanations for the phenomenon.
This is, however, exacerbated by political history and cultural traditions that blur whatever distinctions separate the service from many external influences. The result is the amalgam we referred to earlier, which promises to continue until the forces of industrialization and modernization will eventually encourage the maintenance of a much more professional civil service. 4. Public opinion reflects mostly the negative characteristics that result from the political and cultural intrusions into the service. These have to do with the image of the civil service as bloated, civil servants as lazy, inefficient, or worse, corrupt. There are also positive descriptions of the system and the individuals, but the stereotypes persist.
5. Reform efforts practically constitute a tradition, with at least five reorganizations undertaken in the fifty years of the independent republic. They exemplify the concern for the performance of the civil service which traditionally has been viewed as the main mechanism for bringing about societal good. Implicit in this concern is the desire to strengthen the legitimacy of every government that takes over from a preceding one.
This concern for legitimacy was dramatized by the martial law regime which went to greater lengths to improve, modernize and strengthen the civil service so it could help transform Philippine society. Although ultimately a failure, the martial law regime illustrates very well the relationship between civil service performance and regional legitimacy. Applying the configurations of Ferrel Heady and Philip Morgan to the preceding description and analysis has resulted in what is actual expected. This refers to the fact that, reflecting the hybrid and transitional character of the civil service in the Philippines, the system can be placed in several points of continua.
For practically all the dimensions they identify this is the case. Many characteristics, sometimes even contradictory ones, exist at the same time. This fact should make interesting comparisons with the civil service systems of both developing and developed countries.