P25,000 Charter Day bonus questioned

P25,000 Charter Day bonus questioned
Photo by Yans Baroy

MAJORITY of regular and casual employees of the Cebu City Government may soon receive their Charter Day bonus of P25,000.

During a special session on Friday, March 8, 2024, the City Council approved the first supplemental budget (SB 1) amounting to P972 million. The amount includes the P121 million for the cash incentive, as well as the P5,000 gratuity pay of job order (JO) employees.

Some councilors, though, were not happy, saying the City had other pressing matters that needed to be addressed instead of granting bonuses.

Councilors Phillip Zafra, Donaldo Hontiveros, James Anthony Cuenco, Renato Osmeña Jr., and Pancrasio Esparis said they would not accept the money.


During the discussion on the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence’s (Praise) resolution that recommended the grant of service excellence incentive to regular and casual employees, Cuenco questioned the justifications of the executive department to give the P25,000 bonus.

He said the City just gave the employees a P20,000 cash incentive two months ago.

He said the justifications were only a “copy paste” of last December’s justification.

“There should be a sort of real reward and performance done by the employees that will give reason for the grant of incentive. Maybe they give honor or recognition to the City... I am bothered by the fact that all these rewards they mentioned are the same as those that have been mentioned for the grant of incentive last December for Christmas bonus,” Cuenco said in mixed Cebuano and English.

“Murag man ta’g giinsulto ani gud (It seems like we’re being insulted),” added Cuenco, chairman of the committee on budget and finance.

Councilor Noel Wenceslao said the Praise committee added three new items to justify the Charter Day bonus.

These were the Gawad Kalasag (Kalamidad at Sakuna Labanan Sariling Galing ang Kaligtasan) Seal, a special award for excellence in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Humanitarian Assistance, and the acknowledgement made by Cebu engineers and architects “for the City’s efficient and effective administration in creating and sustaining mindful relationship to foster and strengthen connections and collaborations of professional expertise.”


Cuenco and Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera said the executive department should have first addressed the matter of unpaid JO personnel and the purchase of a heavy-duty tow truck.

Pesquera said several JO personnel have been working without appointments and salaries for the last two months.

Zafra suggested acting on the JOs’ plight first before acting on the Charter Day bonus.

Cuenco also questioned one of the sources of funds for the cash incentives, which will be the savings from personal services.

He said the Cebu City Transportation Office has the highest savings, but only because it did not renew the appointment of many traffic enforcers.

“They were not renewed because the City was rightsizing. That’s why the traffic situation in the city has worsened because we lack enforcers... What we see now is the City has been skimping on money, only to find out that we are doing this so we can give a bonus. This is very absurd,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

He said the City should instead appropriate money to buy tow trucks capable of towing 10-wheeler trucks.

Cuenco, who also chairs the transportation committee, said the City had to borrow a heavy-duty tow truck from Mandaue City to tow a truck that had broken down inside the tunnel of the Cebu South Coastal Road, which caused a four-hour traffic jam last Feb. 20.

“Uwaw kaayo (It was shameful),” he said.

Cuenco also said the bonus should be given to employees in need like the JOs, and not to those who are already in the position.

He said it is incumbent on them, as City Hall employees and officials, to perform well without any incentive.

But Wenceslao said not all regular and casual employees will receive the Charter Day bonus, emphasizing that only those who received a satisfactory performance rating will get one.

He said there are currently 4,784 regular and casual employees and 3,357 JO personnel working in City Hall.

The SB 1 also covers the P205 million for the preparation of the Palarong Pambansa in July, P600 million for transitional housing, and P21 million for the City Council upgrade, among others.

The SB 1 will be sourced from the savings of general fund proper and special accounts.

Cebu City celebrated its 87th Charter Day last Feb. 24. / JJL, AML


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