Photo: DOTr Sec Arthur Tugade. INQUIRER PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will start on Monday the transfer of its operations from its current main office in Mandaluyong City to a site some 100 km away in Clark in Pampanga province in a move that could mean getting ready for work as early as 3 a.m. for many of the department’s employees.
On the Facebook page “DOTr No to Clark Transfer,” current and former employees of DOTr aired their gripes about the transfer, many asking whether there was “urgent and compelling reason” for the move.
The DOTr will provide shuttle service to its employees at two pickup points—Edsa Shrine and TriNoma. The shuttle from Edsa Shrine will leave at 5 a.m. and the one in TriNoma at 6 a.m.
A member of the 176-employee Facebook group said this meant they would have to wake up as early as 3 a.m. to catch the shuttle service. “What would happen to our health?” said one DOTr employee.
Another employee said he currently gets up at 4:30 a.m. to be at the DOTr head office in Columbia Tower in Mandaluyong City at 7 a.m. With the shuttle arrangement, he noted that this meant he would have to be awake as early as 2:30 a.m.
“I would then have to sleep earlier than my kids so I could be up by 2:30 a.m.,” he said. “[Then] I should be asleep by 6 or 7 p.m.,” he said. “Around that time we’re only on our way back from Clark. That’s such a burden for us,” he added.
In a statement, the department said the transfer to Clark was in line with government efforts to decongest Metro Manila, reduce travel time, and improve travel time of commuters and motorists, while helping boost development in peripheral areas.
The DOTr said it had dialogues and discussions with its employees “to thresh out issues, differences and fears about the transfer.”
To address concerns, the agency said it would implement flexi-time and a four-day work week and also provide shuttle service to and from Clark. A subsidized accommodation for employees is also being discussed.
Employees are also given the choice to move to another DOTr attached agency, the department added.
“The first batch of offices will transfer to Clark on July 28,” the DOTr statement said.
Earlier this month, Vince Dizon, president and chief executive officer of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, said the BCDA was rushing preparations in Clark for the transfer of the DOTr.
He had said that while the envisioned National Government Center was yet to rise in the planned New Clark City, the DOTr would first occupy a three-story building previously used by a call center firm.
The DOTr is currently occupying several floors at Columbia Tower.
Among the offices expected to lead the transfer are those of Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade’s and his undersecretaries, as well as the department’s communications and legal divisions.
Dizon said that unlike in Malaysia, where most government offices relocated to Putrajaya from Kuala Lumpur in one go, the transfer of national government agencies to Clark would be gradual.
The first phase of New Clark City, however, would not be completed until 2022. The Philippine National Railway’s Manila-Clark line, which would connect Metro Manila with Clark, would not be in operation until 2020.
The employees expressed hope that the DOTr would just wait until then to move to Clark./rga
- Published in Latest News
- Written by Jovic Yee - Reporter / @jovicyeeINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer
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