Casual, job order workers unpaid at Cebu City Hall
MERLYN Cabreros, a casual employee at the Cebu City Hall, expected to receive her salary last Tuesday.
When she checked, however, her salary has not been credited to her account. As a result, she had to borrow money to finance her family’s daily expenses.
“Nag-expect na mi nga mosulod nas among ATM gahapon (Tuesday). Pero wala miy nadawat. Karon, nangutang na lang ko. Pero ako giingnan akong giutangan nga don’t worry kay kahibaw mi nga mangusog ang mga konsehal nga masweldoan mi,” she told Cebu Daily News.
(We expected our salary to be deposited in our ATM last Tuesday. But we didn’t receive anything. I had to borrow money. But I told them not to worry because I know the councilors will push for us to get our salary.)
Cabreros, who is assigned as the executive assistant of Councilor Eugenio Gabuya Jr., is among the casual and job order workers of City Hall who did not get their salaries because of the continued dilemma of the city government as to which budget they would be using – the P6.4-billion annual budget this year or a reenacted one based on the budget in 2015.
During the council’s regular session yesterday, the councilors passed a resolution asking the executive department to reconvene its Local Finance Committee (LFC) to resubmit a revised annual budget for 2016 as recommended by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) 7.
DBM earlier declared that P6.4-billion annual budget this year as inoperative in its entirety for lacking an appropriation for contractual obligations, which is the amortization for the South Road Properties (SRP) loan. DBM also directed the city government to operate based on a reenacted budget from last year.
“At this point, why don’t we just follow the DBM? The fact remains that we received a letter from the DBM,” said Councilor Margarita Osmeña in a privilege speech yesterday.
The executive department has yet to submit a revised budget.
Mayor Michael Rama, who was in Manila yesterday, said he has yet to decide whether to allow a reenacted budget or not. He said he will discuss the matter with the Local Finance Committee.
“I need to see the resolution first. I can’t be making a statement right away. But the mayor will always be not an obstructionist towards the delivery of basic services plus the fact that we need to respond to the need for employees to be paid,” he told reporters in a phone interview.
He said the city treasurer and city accountant should still be able to release the salaries of the employees even with the situation.
City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas, for her part, said they will process the payroll for the remaining casual and contractual (JO) employees so that they can get their salaries by tomorrow, Friday.
The regular employees have received their salaries since their payrolls were submitted earlier, before they got the DBM’s opinion.
She said there shouldn’t be any problem in releasing the salaries for employees with existing positions since the budget for their salaries as stated in the 2015 and 2016 annual budgets are the same.
City Administrator Lucelle Mercado said what remains unresolved are those other expenses covered under the 2016 budget that are not in the 2015 budget, she said.
This includes the salaries of newly hired city hall employees and those who’ve been promoted to a different position, as well as the P40 million election reserve for the coming May elections.
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