IT has been a week since the issue made headlines, but allegations of politicking over the distribution of cash honorarium for barangay workers from Liloan town continue to hound the Provincial Government.
This, despite Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale’s assurance earlier that workers in the province who were not present during the distribution of their honorarium would still receive the annual incentive from the Provincial Government.
Last Saturday, March 16, Liloan Mayor Christina Frasco and her husband, former mayor Duke, distributed allowances to some 131 barangay workers whose honorarium were allegedly withheld by the Capitol after they failed to show up during the distribution held last March 8.
The Frascos reportedly shelled out P232,800 from their personal funds to give away to the barangay workers. Each barangay worker received an amount equivalent to the incentive the Capitol has promised them.
Every year, Capitol gives each health worker, barangay nutrition scholar, day care worker and barangay animal health aide P2,400. The tanods and lupon each get P1,500.
“Amo na lang gitubos ang obligasyon sa Capitol. Kay dili mi makatugot nga daug-daugon lang ni Vice Governor Magpale ang among mga barangay workers tungod kay mas gituman nila ang ilang trabaho sama sa measles vaccination kaysa sa mo-attend ug political rally (We took care of Capitol’s obligation because we couldn’t allow Vice Governor Magpale to exclude our barangay workers just because they chose to do their job rather than attend a political rally),” Mayor Frasco said in a press statement issued on Sunday, March 17.
The mayor added that the barangay workers have the option to pursue legal action against Magpale for her “continued refusal to release the incentives, saying ‘immediate liquidation’ is needed before they can move on to other towns.”
Despite the development, Magpale remains unfazed.
“This is not an issue because a new payroll will be prepared for those who did not get their allowances on the assigned day. Daghan baya ni apas sa Consolacion ug nakadawat sad (Many who went to Consolacion were able to get their honorarium), so this is not an issue,” Magpale told SunStar Cebu in a text message on Sunday.
Earlier, Magpale said the Provincial Health Office and the Provincial Treasurer’s Office (PTO) needed to liquidate all the honoraria that had been distributed and the honoraria that were returned because these were not collected by their intended recipients.
In an earlier report, Ainjeliz de la Torre-Orong, Provincial Information Office head, said the financial incentives would have to be liquidated immediately because these were taken from cash advances.
That way, the PTO could make another cash advance for the next distribution in the next local government unit, she said.
Mayor Frasco, though, has cited Commission on Audit (COA) Circular 97-002, which governs the disbursement and liquidation of cash advances.
As amended, Section 5.1 states that the accountable officer shall liquidate his cash advances (for salaries, wages, etc.) “within five days after each fifteen day/end of the month pay period.”
“And yet, after their distribution rally in Liloan, Magpale and (Gov. Hilario) Davide (III) proceeded to conduct distribution in Consolacion and Compostela on the same day. If the alleged prerequisite of a full liquidation per town is true, how then could they have proceeded to two other towns without having conducted liquidation immediately prior? The fact remains: there is an annual budget or allocation for the honorarium of ALL barangay workers. The money is there. COA Rules say it should and can be paid until March 20. Why does Magpale refuse to pay the barangay workers of Liloan who were doing simply doing their duty?” Frasco said.
The mayor reiterated that her staff “never officially received” the letter from Capitol informing her office about the distribution of honorarium in the town. (RTF)