Cebu City Council mulls over new P4K Cola for public school teachers

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita |October 02,2016 - 10:45 PM

NEWS TODAY

A proposed Cebu City ordinance is aiming to grant public school teachers a P4,000 monthly allowance by January 2017 just as city hall currently provides allowances to policemen, barangay tanods (village watchmen) and lupons (village conciliators).

“We decided to make it P4,000 because we give P4,000 to the police, P5,000 to tanods and P4,000 to our lupon. At least it’s uniform,” said the author of the proposal, Cebu City Councilor Jose “Joey” Daluz III, chair of the city’s committee on social services and housing.

The fund release shall cover the teachers’ cost of living allowance (Cola) and will be sourced from the city’s general fund, Daluz said.

Daluz’ proposal came three months after the Commission on Audit (COA) disallowed the release of P2,000 Cola allowances for Cebu City’s public school teachers as state auditors ruled that the teachers’ Cola, hardship and clothing allowances were already considered part of their basic salary in line with government’s revised compensation system.

Daluz’ proposal also came in the heels of a letter sent by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) to Cebu City Councilor Margarita Osmeña, the city’s deputy mayor for budget and finance, asking her to sponsor a city budget ordinance that will facilitate the lawful release of their Cola.

The union of teachers suggested that the city can still allot funds for them by taking the budget out of the city’s General Fund instead of the city’s Special Education Fund (SEF) disallowed by COA.

COA’s Notice of Disallowance covered P80.5 million disbursed through the Local School Board (LSB).

In a talk with Cebu Daily News, Daluz said that if the council approves the ordinance, the city will set aside P240 million yearly to release the Cola of around 5,000 public school teachers in the city.

Under the draft ordinance, only rank-and-file teachers or those who do actual teaching, will be given their Cola.

“They are the ones that really need help since they have meager salaries. It will affect their teaching skills if they don’t have enough earnings,” Daluz said.

In her letter to Osmeña last week, Antonia Lim, president of ACT Region 7 lamented that the entry level salary of a teacher was only P18,549 at Salary Grade 11.

“Our take home pay merely covers the increasing costs of raising a family and living in a highly urbanized city such as Cebu,” Lim told Osmeña.

“The Cebu City’s COLA amounting to P2,000 per month which is sourced out from SEF and was disallowed by COA (can) be sourced out from the General Fund and be termed as Local City Cost of Living Allowance (LC Cola),” Lim then suggested.

Lim cited Joint Circular No. 1 of 1998 issued by the Department of Education , Department of Budget and Management and Department of Interior and Local Government which states that additional allowances granted to teachers by local government units (LGU) should be charged to the LGU’s general fund.

The said joint circular was also used by Daluz to back his proposed ordinance.

“The compensation of the public school teachers in the Philippines even after the increases implemented last is still below the poverty level, inadequate to cope with the rising costs to sustain a decent standard of living,” read the ordinance.

The ordinance was referred to three council committees for review namely, the Committee on Laws, Committee on Education and Committee on Budget and Finance.

The Local School Board was likewise tasked to review and comment on the proposal.

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