By LITO RULONA
and SHIELA MAE BUTLIG
THE provincial board is set to meet tomorrow and discuss how to deal with the provincial government’s Local Finance Committee (LFC) over the failure of any of its members to face the legislature and explain the capitol’s failure to give its workers their mid-year bonuses until now.
Meanwhile, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) has reprimanded the capitol, and directed it to release the mid-year bonuses.
Provincial legal officer Cerilo Pacana confirmed that the capitol received the notice signed by director Maria Luisa Salonga-Agamata of the Commission’s Public Assistance and Information Office. It was addressed to Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano.
The provincial board had asked members of the finance committee to come on Monday but none of them came. Instead, the provincial board received a letter from provincial administrator Jocelyn Lood-Mateo who explained that the committee members could not come because Monday was “People’s Day.”
Reads part of Mateo’s letter: “… please be informed that the Local Finance Committee members could not attend to your regular session on the said date (July 22, 2019) for the reason that the same day is also the People’s Day in which all the department heads are mandated to be present and should be present in their offices the whole day.”
Mateo’s letter was addressed to Vice Gov. Jeremy Jonahmar Pelaez who reportedly assumed as acting governor on Monday because Gov. Emano has gone on leave.
Incidentally, Vice Gov. Pelaez’s secretary said there was no People’s Day-related activity at the capitol on Monday.
The local finance committee is chaired by provincial budget officer Claudita Baliton. Its members are provincial treasurer Ronald Jaime Violon, provincial accountant Marilou Rivera, provincial assessor Marilyn Legaspi, and acting provincial planning and development officer Josefino Bascug.
Carol Lim-Caidic, assistant provincial administrator, said over 1,300 capitol employees are entitled to the mid-year bonuses. Employees, including “casuals,” are to receive a full month’s salary without tax and loan deductions based on their salary grades.
Provincial board member Jerry Khu said Mateo’s reason was unacceptable even as he pointed out that the matter concerns over a thousand capitol officials and employees.
“Dili man siguro rason nga dili sila motunga kay walking distance ra man intawon ang session hall to areas nga diin didto sila for People’s Day. Nagpaabot ba sa wala ang mga empleyado?” Khu asked rhetorically.
Khu added: “Makalolouy kaayo ang mga empleyado nga nagdahum sa bonus nga ilang madawat tungod kay kini nakagahin na sa unsa mga nga mga palitonon og panginahanglanon sa matag-pamilya.”
Pacana, capitol’s legal officer, said some capitol employees brought the matter to the CSC. He said the CSC has cited the complaints of employees whose identities were withheld.
“The Civil Sevice told us to facilitate, or respond to the complaints,” Pacana said.
Pacana said the mid-year bonuses, based on a rule set by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Budget and Management, should have been released not earlier than May 15 and not after June 30.
Based on this rule, he said, the bonuses should be released as soon as possible.
But according to Pacana, Emano has explained that the delay was allegedly due to the failure provincial accountant’s office to determine exactly how many of capitol’s workers were entitled to mid-year bonuses.
Pacana said the delay was not due to financial problems because the provincial budget and provincial treasurer’s office certified that there are funds for the mid-year bonuses.
“The rule of the accounting is to identify kinsa ra gyud ang tagaan. Naa man gyud nag-retire, naay nag-resign, naay nanga-admin,” he said. “Ang accounting ang problema karon.”
He added: “When we say ‘mid-year,’ dapat gani ato ra nang end sa June 30 but nagkaproblema, according ni Gov, didto sa accounting.”
Pacana said Emano has already ordered the mid-year bonuses released. “So, anytime now, p’wede nana ma-release.”