P20,000 calamity aid instead of Christmas bonus

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

INSTEAD of cash gifts, the Cebu City Government will give calamity assistance amounting to P20,000 to its 4,200 regular and casual employees.

That way, the City will not exceed the 45-percent limit on personal services that is set under Republic Act 7160, or the Local Government Code.

Section 325 of the law provides that “the total appropriation, whether annual or supplemental, for personal services of a local government unit for one fiscal year must not exceed 45 percent of the total annual income from regular sources realized in the next preceding fiscal year.”

City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete said the personal services limitation was one of their considerations they decided to give calamity assistance instead of a bonus to the employees.

In 2012, the Commission on Audit (COA) called the attention of the City when it gave each employee P10,000 as a Christmas bonus, or a total of P46.5 million, saying the amount went beyond the 45-percent cap.

Affected relatives

While the City was not heavily affected by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake last October and last month’s super typhoon Yolanda, Poblete said the employees still need financial assistance.

“They may not be directly affected, but some of them have relatives who suffered as a result of either the earthquake or the super typhoon,” he said in Cebuano.

Aside from that, Poblete pointed out that the Office of the President and the City Council has already declared a national state of calamity and a state of calamity, respectively.

Poblete clarified that the calamity assistance will not be charged to the calamity fund but to the general fund.

The giving of P20,000 calamity assistance to the employees is based on the recommendation of the City’s Program on Awards Incentive for Service Excellence (Praise) committee.

In a two-page resolution, the committee headed by Eugene Elizalde said the amount will help hasten the employees and their families’ recovery from the damage brought about by the earthquake and the typhoon.

Under SB 3

The calamity assistance is one of the items covered under the P140.3-million proposed supplemental budget (SB 3) of the City for this year.

In a copy of the proposed SB 3, though, the executive department only proposes around P61 million as calamity assistance to the employees, which means that each employee will only get at least P15,000.

The council will tackle the SB 3 in its regular session today.

Other items included in the proposed SB 3 are the P28.7-million financial assistance to the policemen serving the city, NBI personnel and maritime police; P3.6-million financial assistance to firemen; and P12-million aid to the judiciary. These are allowances covering July to December.

The financial assistance was proposed in the SB 2 but the council did not approve it.

The SB 3 also includes the P16-million budget to cover the November to December payment to a private sanitary landfill in Consolacion.

The source of funds for the proposed SB 3 is the P140.3-million realignment from the 2013 current appropriations.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 18, 2013.

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