No bonus for 5K teachers in Cebu City

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Saturday, December 7, 2013


THE estimated 5,000 public elementary and high school teachers in Cebu City might not receive a bonus from the City Government this year.

Local School Board chairperson and former city councilor Joey Daluz III said he will recommend to the mayor not to give bonus to the teachers yet.

Asked why, Daluz yesterday said the issue surrounding last year’s release of P56-million worth of bonus to the teachers (P10,000 each) has not yet been resolved.

The teachers’ bonus last year was charged to the City’s Special Education Fund (SEF).

The transaction, however, was questioned by the Commission on Audit (COA), saying it was not allowed.

They said using the SEF as bonus to teachers does not qualify under Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code.

Section 272 states that the SEF, which is one percent of real property taxes, shall be used for the operation and maintenance of public schools, construction and repair of school buildings, facilities and equipment, educational research, purchase of books and periodicals, and sports development.

“We are still answering that observation. So it’s prudent that we wait for the final decision of COA,” said Daluz.

The City has answered the state auditor’s observation, but Daluz said COA has yet to respond to it.

Incentives

The City Legal Office had said the SEF can be used to cover the financial incentives to public school teachers.

In a three-page legal opinion, they said giving of emoluments and allowances to the teachers fall within the ambit of operation and maintenance of public schools.

They cited the case of COA 7 against the Cebu Province in November 2001, where the state auditors contended that salaries and personnel-related benefits are not among the authorized items under RA 7160.

In the said case, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled that COA’s contention is without merit.

The High Court said the Local Government Code passed in 1991 did not totally repeal the provisions of RA 5447 or the law creating the SEF which was passed in 1968.

What the Local Government Code repealed as stated in Section 534, the SC said, is only Section 3 of RA 5447, which deals with the allocation of taxes on imported leaf tobacco.

Sought for comment on Daluz’s statement yesterday, Mayor Michael Rama said he doesn’t want to talk about the matter, saying nothing is final yet.

He said, though, that if the City has money, then it will give incentives to the teachers.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 07, 2013.

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