CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña ordered former mayor Michael Rama and seven other individuals to settle an P80.5-million disallowance from the Commission on Audit (COA).
The amount covers the payment of the cost of living allowance (Cola) and hardship and clothing allowance to public school teachers last year.
It was charged to the Special Education Fund, which COA said is not allowed.
State auditors issued a notice of disallowance to the City Government over the transaction last Aug. 3.
“You are hereby directed to settle immediately the COA disallowance,” said the mayor in his one-page memorandum dated Aug. 18.
It was addressed to Rama; former city treasurer Diwa Cuevas; Glodel Dexter Flores, president of the Cebu City Public Schools Teachers Association; Isidro Tumulak Jr., president of the Cebu City Federation of Parents-Teachers Association; and then Department of Education Cebu City Division chief Rhea Mar Angtud, among others.
They are all members of the Local School Board (LSB) and were identified by COA as the ones’ responsible for the transaction.
Rama, in a separate interview, said he will look into the matter.
“Naa man tay explanation anang tanan. Sige lang kay gitubag na man na ug tarong niadto. Dili man gyud na sila moundang (There’s an explanation for everything. The matter had already been properly addressed. They just won’t stop),”’ he said.
State Auditor IV Ma. Daisy Bercede and Cymbeline Celia Chiong-Uy said the legal basis cited by the LSB in paying the teacher’s allowances is without merit.
Then LSB chief Ronald Diola said the giving of the allowances is allowed under Republic Act (RA) 4670, or the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.
The Cola, he said, is given so teachers can keep up with the rise in the cost of living.
2005 DBM circular
The special hardship allowance, on the other hand, can be given to teachers who may have difficulty in commuting to their workplace or are exposed to other hazards.
He said the Local Government Code allows the giving of additional allowances and other benefits to public elementary and high school teachers if the local government can afford it.
But Bercede and Uy said the granting of the Cola and hardship and clothing allowance to teachers contradicts RA 6758, or the law that revised the compensation system in government.
The Cola and the hardship and clothing allowance are already integrated in the teacher’s basic salary, they said.
They cited a 2005 circular issued by the Department of Budget and Management, which states that those found to have authorized the granting of Cola and other allowances and benefits already included in the basic salary shall be held liable for such payment.
Bercede and Uy said Rama and the seven others can appeal the notice of disallowance within six months from its issuance. Otherwise it will become final and executory.