Rama bonuses also benefitted non-teaching staffBy Doris C. Bongcac
Cebu Daily News
The additional cash incentives which Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama authorized did not only benefit public school teachers but also non-teaching personnel of the Local School Board (LSB) which included carpenters, office personnel and even drivers.
State Auditor Romuelda Lagunay said in a report that the release of the incentive amounting to P48.2 million was “not a mandatory requirement of the Department of Education (DepEd) but only an initiative of DepEd Cebu City.”
Rama issued a memorandum dated Dec. 27, 2012 to authorize a P47.3 million cash advance and its disbursement at P10,000 to each of the public school teachers as additional performance incentive.
The money, which was double the P5,000 incentive in 2011, was released on Dec. 28, 2012.
Another disbursement of P0.9 million was made on the same day by acting city treasurer Emma Villarete but this time, they gave P10,000 each to 41 LSB carpenters and 50 casual workers which include administration personnel and drivers.
Lagunay who reviewed the 2012 disbursements from the Special Education Fund (SEF) came up with “expenses paid (but) not allowable to be charged against the Special Education Fund” which include the additional performance incentive.
Other “illegal” charges to the SEF include psychological tests given to teachers – P2.9 million, food and accommodation for various DepEd activities- P3.9 million, door prizes for Teacher’s Day celebration – P1 million and teachers scholarship – P0.3 million.
Lagunay said in her report that the psycho test was an “unnecessary expense because these teachers who took the exam are already in the service as regular teachers and no sanctions (are imposed) for those having deficient psycho (test results).”
City Schools Superintendent Rhea Mar Angtud had told auditors that the release of P1 million worth of appliances which was raffled off as door prizes during the Teacher’s Day celebration held last Dec. 16, 2012 was a “usual expense” given by the LSB.
But Lagunay said in her report that such expense is “not a priority expense chargeable to SEF.”
She said that even the grant of scholarships to teachers was not a priority expense for the SEF because this was already a duplication of the scholarship program which the Civil Service Commission offers to all government personnel.
The scholarship fee amounting to close to P300,000 was paid to the University of the Philippines on Aug. 1, 2012.
Councilor Jose Daluz III, LSB head, said that this was not the first time that the city released performance incentives to teachers and non-teaching personnel. He said that such release was already made a practice of the city government even during the administration of former mayor and now south district Rep. Tomas Osmeña.
“Wala ra mi maguol ana (audit observation). We will answer that at the proper time,” he said.
Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young concurred with Daluz that the release of performance bonuses has been practiced by the city government for years now. But he said that it was only in 2012 that the bonuses were charged to the SEF.
“Normally naa gyud na siyay appropriation other than the SEF,” he told Cebu Daily News.
Young said that even the conduct of the psychological tests which is a requirement for teacher-applicants was subsidized by the city when they started the testing in 1997.
But there were only very few applicants then and the test only costs P100 each.
Young said that this should not longer be the case now that the city’s applicants have grown to at least 1,200 teachers per year and the cost of the testing has increased to at least P300 each.
It was already impractical for the city to subsidize the test because they only hire 50 of the 1,2000 teacher applicants for each year.
An option, Young said, is to make the teacher-applicants pay for their own testing and for the city government to pay them refund if they get hired.