UNLESS all local government units adopt the same measure in their jurisdictions, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña maintained his opposition to the proposal to provide P4,000 as monthly cost of living allowance (Cola) to close to 6,000 public school teachers in the city.
Osmeña, though, has no qualms with making the budget for the P10,000 annual cash assistance for teachers more flexible by basing the allocation on the number of qualified teachers every school year, instead of having a fixed amount.
“I think we can do that. That’s reasonable, but I’m against giving P4,000 a month. That’s too much,” he told reporters yesterday.
Last October, Councilor Jose Daluz III filed a draft ordinance doubling the P2,000 Cola for teachers to have it uniform with what police, village watchmen and mediators are receiving monthly from City Hall.
Should the proposal be approved, this would mean that the City will have to release about P30 million worth of Cola, aside from the P54.9 million in cash assistance for 5,485 teachers this year.
State auditors, however, have disallowed the issuance of the cash last August after ruling that the Cola and the hardship and clothing allowances are already integrated in the teachers’ basic salary.
Last month, the City Treasurer’s Office and the City Budget Office said that unless it gets another “steady” source of income, the City’s finances are not enough to meet all its budgetary needs.
Osmeña, however, said that the increase in Cola may be done in case-to-case basis, like teachers being deployed to disaster-stricken areas or isolated schools in the mountains. (RTF)