No takers for 4,300 jobs?

PNS — MALACAÑANG is having difficulty filling 4,300 vacancies before an election-period ban on new appointments takes effect on Sept. 25.

But President Benigno Aquino III said Friday his administration was working double-time to recruit the right people after business leaders said the continuing vacancies in key government positions were bringing about a “state of uncertainty.”

“There is really an urgency to fill up all of the 4,300 positions. There’s actually a ban starting September 25 due to the barangay [village] elections,” Mr. Aquino said, referring to a ban on new appointments 100 days before any election.

The President said some of the people he asked to join his administration had declined, and probably because of the low salaries they would be receiving and the criticisms they might be facing if they accepted.

Mr. Aquino said he was scouting for people “who are competent and trustworthy to do the job, but at the same time we have to be wary of those who self-promote.”

He told business leaders that he was being more thorough in screening possible appointees after he “almost made a mistake” in considering for a law enforcement position a person who turned out to have a less than stellar record.

“We’re trying our best,” he said.

“We are having a lot of successes, but getting the right people to all of these jobs is obviously not that easy given that there are very, very few perks and benefits that we can give them.”

Makati Business Club chairman Ramon del Rosario Jr., who gave Mr. Aquino a report on the observations and suggestions of various business leaders across the country Friday, said “leaving these key posts unfilled over a longer period may convey the impression of a lack of a sense of urgency.

“We note that after almost three months, many key positions remained unfilled, including some key government financial institutions and government-owned or -controlled corporations, and our embassies throughout the world are in a state of uncertainty,” Del Rosario said.

“Ideally, all hands should be on deck as early as possible, as all available resources should be harnessed and mobilized in pursuit of the administration’s goals.”

Among the key positions that need to be filled are those of the president of the Government Service Insurance System, the presidential legislative liaison officer, and the chairman and board members of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.