MANILA, Philippines?They might as well call it their Valentine?s Day bonus.
A week into the new year, many public school teachers are still waiting to get their full P10,000 Christmas bonus for 2009, a nationwide teachers organization said Tuesday.
Antonio Tinio, president of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, said that teachers were still hopeful that they could get their bonus.
?There was a time that it was given on February 14 so it became a Valentine?s Day bonus,? Tinio said in an interview.
Tinio said that the majority of public school teachers have received the P7,000 portion of the Christmas bonus that the Department of Education promised. As of Tuesday, DepEd said that ?almost half? of all its 16 regional offices had reported that P7,0000 bonus had ?been fully released to teachers.?
However, Tinio said the extra P3,000?to be sourced from DepEd savings?has only been released to an ?over-small? number of school divisions because of budgetary constraints.
?We?re still waiting for the balance of P3,000. There were only a few school divisions and high schools?those that had savings?that were able to give their teachers the P3,000,? he added.
Tinio explained that DepEd was having a hard time coming up with the additional P3,000 because this was going to be sourced from its savings.
These savings mostly come from unfilled positions but the Department of Budget and Management has refused to release the funds for these unfilled positions this year, Tinio said.
?The DBM now has a policy that allocations for unfilled positions should not be released. The budget deficit is growing so they?re trying to put up some countermeasures. So, the (DepEd) savings have fallen short ,? he added.
Tinio said that if government were really serious about helping its public teachers, it should provide a separate allocation for their bonus and not just rely on DepEd savings.
?Other agencies like the Department of Agriculture are able to do this so we?re still lobbying to get our full bonus,? Tinio said.
Meanwhile, the DepEd also said its Calabarzon regional office was making appropriate arrangements to immediately replace P4.9 million in ?cash gifts? for teachers that were forcibly taken by robbers in Rizal on December 29.
DepEd Region IV-A Director Paraluman Giron said the regional office was ?doing its best? to replace the amount from available funds.
?We have generated funds to replace the P4.9 million productivity enhancement incentive (PEI) of Rodriguez 1 and 2 of the Division of Rizal,? Giron said in a statement.