BARELY two months since the Cebu City Government employees received their Christmas bonus of P20,000, another bonus is coming as the executive department is lobbying for additional funding for the Charter Day bonus.
During the flag-raising ceremony on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama asked the City Hall employees what bonus they would ask for, and the employees answered “charter.”
Rama declined to disclose the amount and release date of the bonus, saying he did not want to get burned again.
Last year, Rama announced that regular and casual employees of City Hall would get a P35,000 Christmas bonus, only for the City Council to slash the amount to P20,000.
Rama said they will also have to determine whether or not job order (JO) employees will be included.
“Your bonus is already secured. The only question is whether the JO workers will be included. Second, how much,” Rama added.
The announcement on this year’s Charter Day bonus comes after the City Council denied the full amount Rama had sought not only for last year’s Christmas bonus but also for the 2024 overall annual budget. Rama sought P100 billion as the annual budget for 2024. But the council slashed this to just P25 billion, citing the City’s inability even to fund its already mammoth 2023 annual budget of P50 billion, having collected only P7 billion in revenues as of the latest report available then for 2023.
Cebu City celebrates Charter Day every Feb. 24.
Rama said he had already directed the Local Finance Committee to take charge of the bonus request. He added that since 1992, he had been fighting for the early release of the bonus, but asked the employees to also show that they deserve the cash incentive.
City Councilor Noel Wenceslao, chairman of the committee on budget and finance, said in a text message Monday that the proposed Charter Day bonus would still need a supplemental budget (SB) ordinance. He said they were waiting for the executive department to submit their proposal to the legislative department.
In 2023, the Cebu City Council approved only two supplemental budgets. Both were for the bonuses of the employees.
On March 29, 2023, the Council approved SB 1 for 2023 amounting to P79 million for the Charter Day bonus of around 5,000 City employees. The employees received P15,000 each.
On Dec. 13, 2023, the Council approved SB 2 amounting to P337.9 million for the P20,000 Christmas bonus of employees and P5,000 gratuity pay of JO workers.
Rama had sought a P35,000 bonus for casual and regular employees and P10,000 in gratuity pay for JO workers.
Last Jan. 2, the City said it had around 9,000 employees in its payroll, including more than 4,000 JOs, 3,212 casual employees and 1,400 regular employees.
The effort to account for all City employees was undertaken for the rightsizing which Rama had announced as he aims to cut the number of City Hall employees to just 3,000 employees when his term ends in 2025.
Last month, Rama said the rightsizing was supposed to start last October, but he had deferred it to 2024 so the employees would receive their Christmas bonus. (with JJL)