A senator has proposed a uniform bonus, on top of the mandated 13th month pay, for all government employees in the 2012 national budget.
Senator Francis ?Chiz? Escudero made this proposal after learning during Wednesday's plenary deliberations of the 2011 national budget that like in the past, no specific allocation for Christmas bonus has been allocated for public teachers next year.
?There is a line item for the 13th month pay or the regular bonus. But if the President says we give P5,000 or P7,000 additional fee, that's where the problem arises. They have to scrounge for savings,? said Senator Edgardo Angara, who sponsored the budget of the Department of Education, responding to Escudero's query.
?The good Secretary is new in his position...But previous practice and tradition in the department would dictate na kapag hindi po nakapag bigay ang Secretary ng dagdag na bonus maliban dun sa 13th month pay since this is by agency, ang tingin ho sa inyo ng inyong mga opisyal at empleyado, mahinang klase at uri ng Secretary dahil hindi nyo napapagtapatan yung bonus na binbigay ng ibang departamento [if the Secretary failed to give an additional bonus on top of the 13th month pay, the officials and employees would regard him as a weak secretary because he couldn?t give the additional bonus being given by other departments],? said Escudero.
He noted that it has been the practice of each government agency to use its savings as sources of additional bonuses for its employees.
Escudero specifically appealed to the DepEd not to touch the funding allocated for the hiring of additional teachers.
?Well even if they want to not touch it, they can?t do it because otherwise, the Department of Budget and Management will not release the corresponding appropriation if they don't actually hire so they won't have any saving from that,? Angara said.
?What I think that they can do is to cut on the electricity and we have other MOOE,? he added.
But Escudero pointed out that the possible sources of savings of the DepEd would be the salary allocated for a teacher, who retires, who resigns and decides to work abroad, and who gets sick and passed away.
The senator hopes that the agencies will stop fooling Congress by proposing certain project and items, which they don't intend to implement from day one so they be used the funding as savings and therefore, source of Christmas bonuses.
?It's too late to propose it now but hopefully, in the budget for 2012... the government can actually provide an item for additional bonuses on top of the 13th month pay, which they usually give anyway so that agencies don't have to, if I may use the word, fool Congress and tell us that they intend to implement these projects, well in fact, you can't and you have no way and you won?t implement it fully anyway because you have to show something for it by way of bonuses to your employees at the end of the year,? said Escudero.
?Hopefully, in the budget for 2012, we can already uniformly provide for the bonus of government officials and employees para alam din nila mula't mula ang pwede nilang asahan [so that they would know from the start what to expect],? he said.