Bacolod City Councilor Renecito Novero, chairman of committee on education, said he is waiting for the legal positions of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the City Legal Office to resolve the delayed release of emergency cost of living allowance (Ecola) of public school teachers in the city.

The Ecola is sourced from the Special Education Fund and General Fund.

The teachers hired in 1997 and earlier receive P2,100 from the SEF and P3,900 from General Fund, or a total of P6,000 every quarter.

Jose Mario Española, fiscal clerk II of Management and Audit Services Division, had earlier said those who were hired in 1998 and up are not entitled to receive from the SEF because there is no legal basis.

In August 2016, the Commission on Audit (COA) issued an audit observation memorandum (AOM) requiring the teachers to explain the inclusion of the newly-hired teachers in the Ecola funded from the SEF.

Novero said they will hold a meeting soon to finalize the legal arguments to explain the items that are subject of the AOM from the COA.

“There are two phases in the problem of the Ecola, the short-term or the immediate release of the Ecola for teachers coming from the 2016 budget, and the long- term aspect, the solution to the points raised by the COA on the AOM for three years that were not answered by the previous administration,” he said.

He added that some of the teachers who were hired from 1997 and earlier already received their Ecola last week.

Novero said City Accountant Corazon Cardel also assured him that the Ecola will be released once the teachers complete the requirements.

Gualberto Dajao, president of Bacolod City Public School Teachers Federation, said some of the teachers are still waiting for the release of their Ecola.

He said they are willing to submit the requirements.

The teachers are also thankful to the city officials who are helping them to fast track the release of their Ecola, he added.*