Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kabunsuan’s displaced workers get benefits

Asmad Enok, serving the government for over 20 years (left), receives a check worth more than P600,000 representing the "monetized terminal leave" following his displacement from the abolition by the Supreme Court of the Shariff Kabunsuan provincial government at simple rites Monday, March 22, 2010 at the ARMM complex in Cotabato City. Shown handing the check is Maguindanao OIC-Governor Gani Biruar as former SK acting Governor Ibrahim Ibay Jr. (right), Maguindanao OIC-Vice Governor Nariman Ambolodto (second from left) and ARMM Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimb (center) look on. Enok is one of 167 personnel belonging to the first batch of check recipients from P40-million fund released earlier by the national government. (Photo by Ali Macabalang)

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – After more than a year of waiting in anxiety, displaced workers of the defunct Shariff Kabunsuan province finally received their "monetized terminal leaves" under the fresh leadership of the Maguindanao provincial government.

OIC-Maguindanao Governor Gani Biruar personally distributed checks to 167 initial beneficiaries in formal ceremonies last Monday at the cultural center of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) compound here.

ARMM Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo, representing acting Regional Governor Ansaruddin Alonto-Adiong, in a brief speech, said the displaced personnel of the Supreme Court-abolished Shariff Kabunsuan provincial government “deserved prompt attention and every penny of their benefits.”

Sinarimbo’s remark drew resounding applauds from the beneficiaries, who admitted having suspected “something fishy” in the delayed release of their monetized terminal leaves accruing from their separation from service as a result of a Supreme Court order dissolving Shariff Kabunsuan in 2008.

Biruar said that upon his installation to office by Adiong as OIG-governor last February 24, he started receiving formation about the availability in bank of P40-million earmarked for the terminal leaves of the first batch of displaced Shariff Kabunsuan personnel.

“We got confirmation in our verifications from the Department of Budget and Management that the fund was indeed for the terminal leaves of the 167 displaced workers. So, on order of the acting ARMM governor, we promptly prepared the checks and distributed them today,” Biruar said.

Biruar expressed what he described as “immeasurable joy” over the release of the displaced personnel’s terminal pays, stressing that “justice is defined simply as giving Cesar what is due to Cesar.”

Monday’s recipients of checks belonged to the first batch of personnel of the defunct province whose application for terminal leaves were received and processed as early as early last year, it was learned.

The amounts in the checks ranged from the smallest one-year terminal leave of P7,000 to the biggest sum of P600,000 allotted to at least three displaced ranking personnel who have served the government for over 20 years, official records showed.

Biruar said there are more than 200 other displaced personnel of the defunct province who were still deciding either to apply for monetized terminal leaves or seek reemployment in the provincial government of Maguindanao.

Shariff Kabunsuan was created in 2006 out of Maguindanao province via legislation by the ARMM Regional Assembly. In 2008, however, the Supreme Court issued a ruling nullifying the process because of the assembly’s lack of power to create a Congressional district. The power belongs to Congress.

Over 400 of the personnel of the Maguindanao province, who joined the provincial government of Shariff Kabunsuan, have been displaced following the Supreme Court order. (Ali Macabalang)

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