By LITO RULONA
THE Sangguniang Panlalawigan on Monday approved a move to ask the local finance committee to give a good reason for the non-release of capitol workers’ mid-year bonuses.
It was a response to provincial board member Jerry Khu’s privilege speech that brought to the local legislature’s attention questions raised by capitol employees about their mid-year bonuses that were apparently being held back without a clear explanation.
With the provincial board’s green light, Vice Gov. Jeremy Jonahmar Pelaez directed the provincial secretary to prepare a letter that would seek an explanation from members of the finance committee.
The finance committee is headed provincial budget officer Claudita Baliton.
In his privilege speech on Monday afternoon, Khu said the matter was brought to his attention by rank-and-file employees who have been asking questions because they had plans about their mid-year bonuses.
The workers had expected to receive the mid-year bonuses weeks ago — many had planned to use their money for their children’s tuition.
“Gusto lang ako masayod sa insakto nga rason alang sa mga trabahante sa provincial capitol aron aduna kita’y ikatubag sa ilang mga pangutana,” Khu said.
He stressed that his query was not addressed to Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano but to the local finance committee that knows the real state of the capitol’s finances.
Khu said the chairperson and members of the committee owe the capitol workers an explanation.
“Ang uban adunay gigahinan niini nga mga bonus kung ilang madawat ilabi na gyud kung kini alang sa pag-bayad sa edukasyon sa ilang mga kabataan nga nag-tungha. Ang uban alang sa pag-repair sa ilang mga panimalay,” Khu said.
Earlier that day, Emano spoke before the capitol workers during the weekly flag-raising program but kept mum about his plans about the mid-year bonus.
In earlier interviews, however, Emano said the capitol has funds for its workers’ mid-year bonuses and assured that they would receive all their bonuses by December.
There was no clear explanation though why the bonuses were not given to capitol workers despite his assurance that “we have money.”
Vice Gov. Pelaez said it was best to ask the local finance committee to answer questions about the bonuses, and so that the legislature would know “kung aduna pa ba’y pundo nga nabilin alang sa mga programa sa provincial capitol.”
Pelaez said the provincial board would rather not apply pressure on Emano because the governor may have other priorities.