BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Employees of the provincial government of Negros Occidental will get a one-time service recognition incentive (SRI) as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte, but it may not reach P10,000 each.
By granting P10,000 each as authorized by Duterte, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said the provincial government may exceed by P27 million its Personal Services (PS) cap, set by the Department of Budget and Management.
Diaz explained that the computation in giving an additional bonus is being counted as part of PS.
“Under our present budget, the amount allowable to be released is only P5 million, in order that it will not exceed the PS cap. If divided among the 3,200 Capitol employees, each of them will receive P1,700 each,” he said.
But Diaz said the matter is now being discussed by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson and Vice-Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer, and he will leave it up to them to decide if they will push through with giving each Capitol employee P10,000 in SRI.
The SRI, under Administrative Order 37 and signed by Duterte on Dec. 18, is in line with the implementation of Joint Resolution 4 on June 17, 2009, that allows the release of incentives as rewards for a government employee’s loyalty and exceptional financial and operational performance.
“Government employees deserve to be rewarded for their collective and unceasing participation in and invaluable contribution to the administration’s continuing efforts toward the establishment of streamlined government processes and more responsive delivery of public services, especially in the midst of the public health emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” it stated.
The order provides that a one-time SRI would be given to personnel in national government agencies, including those in state universities and colleges and government-owned or controlled corporations, occupying regular, contractual, or casual positions.
Diaz said Lacson has filed a petition before the Office of the President for exemption, and he also raised this concern during the meeting of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines on Friday.
Capitol employees recently received additional bonuses of P40,000,on top of their 13th and 14th month pay, as well as P5,000 cash gift.
For his part, Ferrer admitted that granting P10,000 each to Capitol employees will exceed the PS cap.
He also said it is unlikely that the President will approve the exemption request, as it will set a precedent for other local government units to ask for exceptions.
What is important is that Capitol employees will receive an additional bonus, he added.
The AO stressed that local government employees may also be granted a one-time SRI as determined by their respective sanggunian, depending on their financial capability. “In determining the amount of the SRI, the sanggunians shall exercise prudence and judicious use of government funds, ensuring that the expenditure is reasonable and will not, in any way, adversely affect the delivery of services to the public,” the order read.*