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Debate Arises Over P25K Charter Day Bonus for Cebu City Government Employees

Charter Day

Amidst discussions regarding a proposed Charter Day bonus of P25,000 for regular and casual employees of the Cebu City Government, divergent opinions have emerged among councilors, questioning the allocation of funds.

Here’s a breakdown of the debate and key points raised during the deliberations according to SunStar:

Approval of Supplemental Budget

Photo Credits to the Rightful Owner

During a special session held on Friday, March 8, 2024, the City Council greenlit the first supplemental budget (SB 1) totaling P972 million. This includes P121 million allocated for the Charter Day bonus, alongside a P5,000 gratuity pay for job order (JO) employees. The allocation reflects the city’s commitment to recognizing its employees’ contributions.

Several councilors expressed reservations about the allocation of funds, citing alternative priorities that they believe warrant attention over granting bonuses. Councilors Phillip Zafra, Donaldo Hontiveros, James Anthony Cuenco, Renato Osmeña Jr., and Pancrasio Esparis declared their intention not to accept the bonus.

Questions on Justification

Councilor Cuenco scrutinized the executive department’s justification for the P25,000 bonus, noting similarities with past justifications for a Christmas bonus. This comparison underscores concerns about consistency and transparency in bonus allocation. He emphasized the need for tangible performance-based criteria to merit such incentives.

Councilor Noel Wenceslao highlighted additional criteria introduced by the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (Praise) committee to justify the Charter Day bonus. These include recognition for disaster risk reduction efforts and commendation from engineering and architecture professionals.

Councilors Cuenco and Pesquera advocated for addressing pressing issues such as unpaid JO personnel and the acquisition of essential infrastructure like heavy-duty tow trucks before considering bonuses.

Source of Funds Scrutinized

Councilor Cuenco raised concerns about the source of funds for bonuses, particularly savings from personal services. He pointed out that budgetary decisions, such as reducing traffic enforcer appointments, had unintended consequences, such as worsened traffic conditions.

Councilor Wenceslao clarified that not all employees would receive the Charter Day bonus, emphasizing that only those with satisfactory performance ratings would be eligible.

Aside from the Charter Day bonus, SB 1 encompasses allocations for various initiatives. This includes preparations for the Palarong Pambansa, transitional housing projects, and upgrades to the City Council facilities.

Funding Sources

Funds for SB 1 will be sourced from savings from the general fund proper and special accounts, demonstrating a strategic reallocation of resources. This aims to address the city’s evolving needs efficiently.

The deliberations surrounding the Charter Day bonus underscore the complexities of budgetary decisions and the diverse perspectives within the City Council. Cebu City debates resource allocation despite acknowledging employee contributions.

Read Also: Temporary Pause in Voter Registration Proposed for Charter Change Signature Verification

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