THE Cebu City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) sees delay on the release of the honorarium of the 3,047 public school teachers who will serve in next week’s elections.
With only five days left before the May 9 polls, City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas said there is no budget appropriation yet for the P1,500 honorarium that each teacher, who will serve as board of election inspectors, will get. The City would have to shell out P4.5 million for it.
“Posible gyong malangay but mohatag gyod ta. We will assure the teachers nga maka-collect gyod sila. They will receive it,” she said.
Mayor Michael Rama gave the same assurance.
“Let them serve and then we will solve it. This is a call for volunteerism in the meantime,” he said.
According to Cuevas, the City Government can’t appropriate funds yet because they are still waiting for the budget proposal from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Cebu City and the list of the teachers who will serve in the elections.
The budget proposal will then be made the basis for the City Council when it authorizes the charging of the election expenses to an account.
The budget proposal, she said, will also provide for all the other needs of the Comelec that need support and funding from the City.
These include the purchase of supplies and the overtime pay of hundreds of CTO personnel and other employees from the City’s departments and offices who will serve on election day.
The personnel will be deployed to the field at 1 a.m. on May 9 for the distribution of the official ballots and other election materials, such as the ballot secrecy folders and indelible inks to the 80 barangays.
The overtime pay, Cuevas said, depends on the employees’ current salary.
“We are really making a follow up on the budget proposal from Comelec so that a subsequent resolution will already be passed,” she said.
Once the resolution will be passed, Cuevas said, they will start processing the honorarium of the teachers and the overtime pay of the City’s personnel.
Asked how long this will take, Cuevas said at least a week.
Cebu City election officer for south district Edwin Cadungog, in a separate interview, said they will rely solely on Comelec funds for the honorarium of teachers if City Hall won’t release the funds they requested.
“Usik pero wala gyod tay mahimo. The teachers are also expecting the honorarium from the City because that’s the normal process, nga naay share ang Cebu City. It’s normal, every election they set aside funds bisag kinsa pay administrasyon (We have no choice),” he said.
Without any counterpart from City Hall yet, Cadungog said, the teachers will only get the honorarium from Comelec.
In an earlier interview, former city election officer for the north district lawyer Marchel Sarno said the teachers serving in the elections will receive from Comelec an honorarium of P4,000 each.
They will also get P500 as transportation allowance and a one-time honorarium of P500 for the testing and sealing of the vote counting machines.
All the election expenses would’ve been sourced out from the P40-million election reserve this year but the Department of Budget and Management had declared the entire P6.4-billion annual budget of the City as inoperative due to some deficiencies.
The City is currently operating on a reenacted 2015 budget. It has no item for election expenses considering that last year was not an election year.
The revised P9.8-billion annual budget, on the other hand, is still being deliberated upon by the legislative body and committee on budget and finance and cannot be approved before the elections since they are still asking for supporting documents from the local finance committee.
Around 20 of the CTO personnel, Cuevas said, have already started rendering overtime services since last week, packing election supplies for all 837 clustered precincts in the city.
“Karon mabayran pa na sila kay ilang overtime charged pa man sa amoang budget, pero ma-depleted gyod na siya. Sa election day itself, wa na gyod (We can still pay them now, but there’s no more budget on election day),” he said.
Cuevas said they also don’t have funds for the provision of 600 food packs for the 280 police personnel who will secure the official ballots being kept at City Hall, those who will serve in the canvassing areas and those who will serve as escorts in the delivery of the ballots on election day.
But Cuevas said they are looking for a budget for it under the City Administrator’s Office.
“Pangitaan ra gyod nato ni og paagi (We’ll find a way),” she said.