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Escudero wants gov’t bonuses included in regular budgets




08:06 PM January 17th, 2013

By: Maila Ager, January 17th, 2013 08:06 PM

Senator Francis Escudero. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Senator  Francis “Chiz” Escudero now wants  the bonuses of government  workers  to be  included in the  budget  of each  government agency  so as to avoid another  controversy on the use of its  savings.

At present, Escudero said there is no item in the General Appropriations Act for the bonuses of the employees but the heads of government agencies can use the offices’ savings as source of such fund.

“Ang ginagawa ng kada departamento, nagpo-propose sila sa amin ng mga item, ng mga position, ng mga programa na simulat simula wala naman silang intention o plano na ipatupad (So what each department does is they propose to us an item, positions, or programs that they don’t intend or  plan to implement from the very start),” he said during a regular forum on Thursday.

“Ang nakakaaalam lamang e yung kalihim at yung finance, under-secretary nya na doon huhugutin at dun kukunin bilang savings pagkatapos ng taon. Yun ang ibibigay nilang bonus (Only the Secretary and his finance, undersecretary know that they source it from the savings at the end of the year. That’s what they give as bonuses),”  he said .

He cited as example the budget that Congress had approved in the past for 15, 000 new teachers every year but the Department of Education would only hire about 7,000 new teachers.

The budget for the remaining 8,000 positions, he said, was then considered savings and re-aligned for bonuses of the department’s employees.

So while  he believes that there was nothing  unconstitutional with the  P2.2 million additional maintenances and other operating expenses (MOOE) given to senators last year, Escudero proposed  that the bonuses  for government employees should now be reflected in the budget.

The MOOE given to the senators was sourced from the budget of  the office vacated by then senator and now  President  Benigno Aquino III.

Escudero said if an agency has indeed an excess budget or savings, it should be immediately declared to avoid any wrong impression.

“Sana what you see is what you get. Kung para sa bonus yan, ilagay nyo ng bonus. Huwag nang maglokohan na nakalagay sa isang item na gagastusin din pala para sa bagay na yun,” he further said.

Since 2010, Escudero said his office  returned  more than  P1 million savings to either the Senate or the National Treasury.

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