Former Cebu City Hall tax mappers 
'not to blame' for salary delay
Photo by Yans Baroy

Former Cebu City Hall tax mappers 'not to blame' for salary delay

THE four former Cebu City Hall tax mappers, now seeking their long-overdue salaries, have strongly refuted claims by City Administrator Collin Rosell that their failure to report to reassigned positions is the reason for the 10-month salary delay.

In an earlier interview, Rossell said the four regular employees—Filomena Atuel, Maria Almicar Dionzon, Sybil Ann Ybañez, and Chito dela Cerna—refused to report to their reassigned offices, resulting in the delay of their salary release since July 2023.

Ybañez, speaking on behalf of the three other employees, clarified that they did not outrightly return to reporting to their mother office, the City Assessor’s Office. Instead, they only did so after they received a favorable response to their petition to the Civil Service Commission in Central Visayas (CSC 7).

“Bakak nga wala mi ni report sa offices asa mi gi reassign. (It’s a lie if he said we did not report to the offices where we were reassigned.) We reported there before we filed our appeal at CSC,” Ybañez told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, April 17, 2024.

Ybañez added that they reported to their reassigned offices upon receiving the reassignment order on June 1, 2023. Ybañez said she reported to the Cebu City Operation Second Chance Center; Atuel, the Cebu City Anti-Mendicancy Office; Diongzon, the South Road Properties.

On the other hand, dela Cerna submitted his petition to the CSC 7 before his reassignment date. He was reassigned to the Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office.

The four employees each have decades of experience working for City Hall.

Atuel has served in the City Assessor’s Office for 30 years, dela Cerna for 16 years, Diongzon for 35 years and Ybañez for 18 years. They held positions corresponding to salary grades ranging from 11 to 18.

They are now currently assigned to the City Administrator’s Office under Rosell.

Rosell’s claim

In a press conference Wednesday, Rosell said the alleged refusal of the four employees to report to their new assignment resulted in problems with the budget alignment for personnel and their salaries as no supervisor would sign their payroll documents.

“Kon wala ka ni-report kung asa ka na assigned, kinsa man ang mopirma sa imong time-in, time-out, ang imong DTR (daily time record)?” Rosell said.

(If you fail to report where you are assigned, who will sign your time-in, time-out, your DTR?)

He added that their reassignment was part of the City Government’s effort to revamp employees and improve services. He noted that it is a common practice in the public sector and falls under the prerogative of mayors as part of management.

Reassignment

Rosell said six employees from the Assessor’s Office received reassignment orders.

He said two of these employees reported to their new departments, and, according to him, have not experienced salary issues.

He added that the details of the reassignment should have been kept confidential. He said the City Assessor’s Office is a high-risk department as it safeguards all records of properties within Cebu City, and the City Government is pouring efforts into revamping the office’s services and internal structure.

Rosell added that serious allegations have surfaced within the City Assessor’s Office, including claims that some City Government-owned properties may be improperly titled to private individuals.

Petition

Ybañez said unfavorable time shifting and tasks unrelated to their expertise forced them to petition the CSC 7 to review their reassignment orders.

Atuel, Dionzon and Ybañez filed their petition on June 16, 2023, while Dela Cerna filed his petition on June 19, 2023.

Ybañez said that pending their petition, they returned to report to their original office, the Assessor’s Office. She cited section 13.a.4 of the 2017 Omnibus Rules on Appointment and Other Human Resource Actions to assert that any reassignment order is a non-executory while awaiting review by the CSC 7.

On Oct. 12 and 17, 2023, Atuel, Dela Cerna, Diongzon, and Ybañez received a “favorable” decision from CSC 7 Director Carlos Evangelista, on their appeal, declaring the reassignment from the mayor “invalid.”

However, in November 2023, Mayor Michael Rama, through the City Legal Office (CLO), filed a motion for reconsideration before the CSC 7, which was subsequently denied. Later, the CLO submitted a petition for review before the CSC central office in January 2024

Rosell said that the latest decision of CSC 7 regarding the four employees is currently pending review with its central office.

Transfer to city admin

The four ex-tax mappers are currently working under the office of the City Administrator with a new designation order since March 2024.

Rosell said the mayor had ordered him to expedite the release of the salaries of the four for April this year.

Rosell said he would also coordinate with other department heads for the immediate release of their unpaid salaries. / EHP

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