A HAPPY new year awaits around 7,000 public school teachers in Cebu City as they are expected to start receiving their cost of living allowance (Cola) again
In 2017, the Commission on Audit’s (COA) ruling disallowed the City from providing Cola to the teachers since the allowance is already included in their basic pay. This decision, however, is not yet final as the City has filed an appeal, which is pending before the state auditors, accor-
ding to Mayor Edgar Labella.
A public school teacher used to receive a P1,200 monthly allowance from the City, or P12,000 in 10 months (one school year calendar). Labella promised to increase it to P1,500, or P15,000 in 10 months.
The teachers assigned in the mountain barangays may receive P2,000 since they would be spending a larger budget for their transportation,
Labella told reporters.
The mayor said he will get the budget for Cola from the City’s general funds, not from the Special Education Funds, to avoid any legal impediment.
Waiting for decision
He said if the COA’s central office favors the teachers, the P15,000 that the teachers had paid in the last three years would be given back to them.
In 2017, during the time of then mayor Tomas Osmeña, the City made the teachers pay back the P18,000 Cola and hardship allowance they got
The COA issued a notice of disallowance to the Cebu City Government over the disbursement of the teachers’ Cola (P78.9 million) and hardship allowance (P1.4 million) in 2015, which was charged to the Special Education Fund.
The COA said the disbursement was unauthorized because of the existing laws prohibiting the grant of Cola and other allowances.
Section 12 of Republic Act 6758 (the Act Prescribing a Revised Compensation and Position Classification System in the Government and for Other Purposes) states that other additional compensation for teachers is deemed included in their standardized salary rates.
The state auditors also cited the Department of Budget and Management Circular 2001-03, which states that payment of allowances and compensation such as Cola, amelioration allowance and inflation-tied allowance, among others, which are already integrated in the basic salary, are deemed
The Cebu City public school teachers returned their received Cola on an installment basis starting in 2017.
The previous administration deducted the teachers’ yearend bonuses as payment.
For this year, Labella chose not to deduct any amount from the bonus intended for the teachers while the appeal is still pending in the COA.
The public school teachers are set to receive a P10,000 bonus from the City at the end of the year.
The mayor said the bonus payroll for the teachers has to be rectified since only P5,000 was indicated in it.
Once the officer-in-charge returns the payrolls to the City, these will be corrected right away.
The teachers will receive their P10,000 bonus by Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, or on Monday, Dec. 16.
Labella described the public school teachers as “the most underpaid and overworked” people in the society and it is only right to give them enough bonuses, he said. JJL