TACLOBAN CITY- In spite of insufficient facilities and court rooms, and lack of hazard pay, lower courts across the Philippines endeavors to keep up with the new performance standards being introduced by the Civil Service Commission(CSC). Called the Strategic Performance Management System (SPMS), this mechanism of rating each employee’s performance vis-à-vis an individual target in the organization and the organization’s in its own target will be the basis of one’s availment of performance-based incentives of or his retention in the workplace.

The Supreme Court has lately implemented SPMS, the delay being blamed as reason for late approval of promotions or of lateral transfer of lower court employees. In Tacloban City, through the Office of Deputy Court Administrator (for the Visayas) Thelma Bahia, presiding judges and court staff were briefed as to how this performance review and evaluation scheme will be done and how the SPMS forms will be accomplished within particular period of time. Simultaneous with the very recent launching of the Enhanced Justice on Wheels (EJOW) Mediation Conference in Tacloban City graced by Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, SPMS information fora were spearheaded by Bahia and his staff led lawyer Aristeo Franklin Garcia. “This new performance review system is practically based on the team’s cooperation and each employee’s commitment to achieve the team’s target,” Garcia added. The rating will be based on the accomplishment of target with efficiency over certain period of time.
“A 100 percent accomplishment can only entitle you to a performance bonus of only about 80 percent of your monthly basic pay,” Garcia disclosed in one of the lectures he gave out.

Garcia warned that a single “poor” rating will automatically drop an employee from the roll. The courts in Eastern Visayas were expected to have submitted to the OCA their respective employees’ individual performance commitment and review (IPCR) forms and this coming Friday the respective branch’s or office’s organization performance and review (OPCR) forms. Although a welcome development for the lower courts in order to ensure better delivery of service to the public, some court employees are batting for more rational compensation based on skills and task involved. Among these are the process servers, interpreters and stenographers associations.
The lack of sufficient courtrooms and facilities in lower courts are among the concerns in the judiciary which are gradually being addressed by the Supreme Court. The president of the Philippine Association of Court Employees, lawyer Maria Fe Maloloy-on, does not see these as set back in meeting improved targets. Admitting the need for more courtrooms is imperative, she remarked, “Lacing of it does not mean that we cannot be efficient with what we have at present.” She said that lack of budget is the problem in addressing the need for more courtrooms. The Supreme Court is opening additional court salas across the country, including two in Tacloban Regional Trial Court.  (EILEEN NAZARENO-BALLESTEROS)