Fiscal Clerk II Jose Mario Española yesterday said they should help the teachers resolve their problem concerning their Emergency Cost of Living Allowance of P700 a month and stop discussing the matter in public.
Española was reacting to the letter of Bacolod Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr., that was taken up by the Bacolod SangguniangPanlungsod Wednesday. Gamboa’s letter was in reaction his letter dated May 16, 2016 addressedto then mayor MonicoPuentevella.
Gamboa said Española’s letter sought to advise Puentevella to refund the ECOLA payment released during the latter’s incumbency citing the Implementing Rules and Regulation of the Local Government Code (RA 7160) and section 4 of DECS-DBM-DILG Joint Circular no. 01 s.1998 dated April 14, 1998.
He said Española’s letter to Puentevella,that cited certain provisions of the law, does not in any way form the legal opinion of the City Legal Office which should have been the right office to give legal advice to the mayor.
Gamboa said the “release of the ECOLA is provided in the Supreme Court case entitled the Commission on Audit of the Province of Cebu versus Province of Cebu (G.R. No. 141386 November 29, 2001)” which covers the teachers’ benefits relative to availability of the Special Education Fund.
He said Espanola cited a 1998 DECS-DBM-DILG Circular which was superseded by the aforementioned jurisprudence.
The SEF (RA 5447) may be expended for the payment of benefits in favor of public school teachers as provided by the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670), he added.
Based on the decision of the Supreme Court,Gamboasaid there should be no reason to hold the allowances, especially the ECOLA of public school teachers coming from SEF.
Española said he did not cite his own opinion. He only informed former executive assistant Ramon Viva of the adverse findings of COA on the matter.
He said the COA, in an earlier opinion, said that only public school teachers hired before 1998 are qualified to receive the Ecola taken from the Special Education Fund of a local government unit of P700 per month.*CGS
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