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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, January 15, 2018
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Union to submit report
on questioned P8M

The Bacolod City Government Employees Union has 60 days to submit to the management its fund utilization report on its three-day BCGEU Year-End Assessment Activity 2017 from December 27 to 29, 2017, with a budget of P8 million, BCGEU president Allyn Luv Dignadice said.

Dignadice said that, based on the Commission on Audit rules they have 60 days to submit their report because the union is considered a non-government organization/private organization.

“We can liquidate our expenses because everything is accounted for,” she said.

Dignadice said that before they came up with the activity, everything was studied carefully. Ever since she became president in Nov. 2016 they have liquidated all expenses of their activities.

BCGEU vice chairman Jake Castellano said, so far, they have not received any disallowance for almost one year since they took over. If they were given by the city such an amount, they would like to assure the public that it went to the recipients and beneficiaries of the program.

Dignadice said they have not received any complaint from their members or from job order casuals, unlike during thelast administration where the employees did not receive the P15,000 incentive promised them because of the colatilla made by some members of the City Council.

She sees no injustice in the P8 million since it is the members of the BCGEU who worked hard so each regular employee could get a P25,000 Collective Negotiation Agreement incentive, which is the biggest they have received so far, she said.

Castellano said that because the city has surplus or savings for meeting its target since October 2017, permanent government employees were given an allocation of P32 million for the CNA incentive. The P8 million is included in the surplus of the city.

He said that because permanent employees were able to receive so many benefits from the city, the BCGEU has decided to provide a program where job order casuals and contractual employees can also beprovided various food stuff since they are also part of the workforce of the city and have contributed tothe city's attainment of its target like becoming “The Most Livable City.”

Castellano said other local governments also provide incentives to their employees if they have surplus. It is only in Bacolod where it is being politicized.

The previous administration also held the same activity for onlyone day with a total budget of P5.6 million, while their activity was held for three days and attended by about 5,000 employees, he said.

Dignadice said they have many programs being planned for the union members and they are also trying to restore benefits due them that they had been deprived of.

Meanwhile, Councilor Wilson Gamboa, Jr. clarified last week that his intention of enjoining the BCGEU through its president Dignadice was not to deprive casuals and job-orders employees of benefits, but for theBCGEU to account for its financial, outcome and accomplishment using said amount.

Gamboa said the resolution enjoining Dignadice to submit an accomplishment report on the activity was filed not just because of public outcries and criticisms, but in the spirit of public trust, accountability and transparency, adding, “The content of said resolution was absolutely not tainted with malice but with the noble intention of knowing where the public's money as big as P8 million went.”

He said there exists Department of Budget and Management Budget Circulars which clearly “enumerates exclusions from coverage in the rules and regulations on the payment of cash gifts and yearend bonuses, the government personnel hired without employer-employee relationships (job order/casuals) funded from non-personnel services appropriations or budget” including gift packs or the giving out of gift packs – are not allowed.”

Gamboa also said, however that comparing the P5.6 million budget of the previous administration, it was released on the strength of a Department of Interior and Local Government Circular that job order/casuals can received cash or gift checks of the not more that P2,000 for the old job orders, and not more than P1,000 for the new job orders in a form of “gratuity pay”.

It was therefore legal and quite unlike this P8 million budget which was released on sheer conduit with BCGEU, he claimed.*CGS





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