Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Delay in release of bonuses to civil workers hit

MANILA, Philippines - A former Philippine labor undersecretary has criticized the Arroyo government for its failure to release immediately the Christmas bonuses of civil workers.

Susan Ople said the inexplicable delay in the release of Christmas bonuses to government workers particularly public school teachers and local government workers was a “huge disgrace” that should be immediately rectified by the Department of Budget and Management.

Ople, head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, noted that several public school teachers from all over the country including in Metro Manila have complained about the delay in their Christmas bonus with no less than the Department of Education confirming it while pinning the blame to the Department of Budget and Management.

The Ople Center said it also received the same complaints from PSLink, a federation of government unions headed by Annie Geron. According to Geron, they wrote the DBM three days before Christmas Eve to press for the release of the Christmas bonuses to all government employees including those employed by local government units.

“The government should set the right example. It cannot set a different standard for private companies while failing to honor on time its own obligations to its own employees,” Ople stressed.

According to Jesus Galvan, assistant secretary for finance and administration of DepEd, the DBM was able to release the cash allocation for the P7,000 bonus to 11 regions out of the 16 DepEd regions. Meanwhile, rank-and-file local government workers particularly in far-flung regions are also complaining about the delay in their bonuses.

“It defeats the purpose of having a Christmas bonus if the money comes days after Christmas Eve. The prompt release of this annual entitlement to our public school teachers could have spelled the difference between having spaghetti for Noche Buena or serving the usual instant noodles for their kids,” Ople said.

The former senior labor official said the Senate should look into the delay in the release of the productivity bonus of government employees, as part of its budget oversight function. “If the funds are indeed available, what is holding up the release? Our public school teachers deserve an explanation from the DBM and DepEd,” she added.

“It’s not as if this is a surprise budget allocation. It is an annual tradition and benefit that government employees deserve and look forward to At a time of extreme financial stress and following a series of calamities, this productivity bonus means the world to an ordinary public school teacher,” Ople pointed out.

According to an official of the DepEd, the Department of Budget and Management is still in the process of releasing the Special Allotment Release Order and the Notice of Cash Allocation for the grant of Productivity Enhancement Incentive or bonus.

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