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DBP says 3,000 employees could lose jobs in Landbank merger

At least three-fourths of the Development Bank of the Philippines' (DBP) more than 4,000-strong workforce are in danger of losing their jobs should the proposed merger with the Land Bank of the Philippines materialize, the state-owned lender’s chairman said Tuesday.

At a press conference in Makati City, DBP chairman Dante Tiñga said that the proposed merger is strongly opposed by officials and employees of the DBP as most of them “would lose their jobs if the merger pushes through with Landbank as the surviving bank.”

Tiñga said that three-fourths or about 75% of the bank’s workforce “would become unemployed.”

“That’s roughly 3,000 [employees],” he said.

On Friday, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno defended the proposed merger of the two state banks, saying that it will eliminate the redundancy and inefficiency in operations.

Diokno also said that “on the retrenchments resulting from the merger, we are determined to work closely with the two banks to ensure that personnel decisions are consistent with our objective to enhance the bank’s efficiency and effectiveness.”

The Finance chief said those who will be separated receive a "fair package of benefits in recognition of their valuable service to the government."

In a separate statement, the Cabinet official maintained that “those who will be separated as a result of the merger will receive fair and appropriate compensation packages.”

“We are working closely with the Landbank and DBP to ensure that personnel decisions are consistent with our objective to enhance the bank’s efficiency and effectiveness... It is important that they have what they need to start anew,” the administration’s chief economic manager said.

Diokno stood firm that the merger does not need a new law to proceed as the government now awaits the Executive Order sometime this month, “before the final legal merger between Landbank and DBP by November.”

Tiñga, however, insisted that since the two state-owned banks were created by acts of Congress, the merger requires an enabling law.

He said that the merger should be pursued “after painstaking study and evaluation of all economic and legal factors involved and in consultation with stakeholders as well as with financing and banking experts” since “there is no convincing justification or compelling need for the DBP and Landbank to be merged.

In April, the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GCG) submitted to the Office of the President its study, which stated that the Landbank-DBP merger can proceed without legislation.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, expressed concern about the proposal, saying that the merger could create an institution that would be "too big to fail." — BM, GMA Integrated News