Teachers’ Cost of Living Allowance from Cebu City may return in 2020
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Teachers in Cebu City will have something to look forward to in the New Year as the city government plans to bring back the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for teachers in 2020.
The COLA was stopped by the Commission on Audit (COA) in 2017 as it ruled the COLA unnecessary, and this P10,000 assistance was already included in their salary.
For this reason, all teachers who received their COLA in 2015 and 2016 had to return it through installment in the last three years.
Former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña deviced a yearly payment plan for four years to pay the P20,000 disallowance by the teachers through the a P5,000 deduction every year.
The deduction was taken from the P10,000 yearly financial assistance of the city to the teachers.
Labella said the COA’s concern centered then on the source of funds of the COLA, which was the special educations fund.
“This time, we will be taking the COLA from the General Funds. I do not think there will be any legal impediment,” said the mayor.
The mayor said that an appeal on the 2017 COA ruling is still pending in court, which means that there is a chance that the COLA disallowance will be overturned and the money, amounting to P15,000 returned by the teachers to the city government, will be given back to them.
This year, Labella suspended the payment of the disallowance, stating that with the pending appeal, the teachers don’t need to pay for the disallowance yet.
He said the teachers will receive the P10,000 in full this Christmas.
Furthermore, he plans to bring back the COLA in 2020, this time increasing the allotted assistance from P1,200 per month for 10 months to P1,500 per month.
Teachers in the 28 mountain barangays will have a higher COLA, amounting to P2,000 because the mayor said they spend more with their transportation.
“The teachers deserve the COLA. They are the most underpaid and most overworked people in the country,” said Labella.
The mayor said the COLA has been included in the proposed P10.4 billion annual budget for 2020. /bmjo
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