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Christmas here for gov’t workers but not for GOCCs

By Norman Bordadora, Ronnel Domingo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:39:00 11/13/2010

Filed Under: Government offices & agencies, State Budget & Taxes

MANILA, Philippines?Holiday cheer is on its way, with government officials due to start receiving the second and last installment of their combined 13th-month pay and P5,000 cash gift on November 15, according to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

But executives and staff of government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs) can?t expect to be given the extravagant bonuses to which they have become accustomed.

Per Executive Order No. 7, the bonuses for directors and trustees of GOCCs and GFIs remain suspended although the review of their controversial compensation packages is almost complete, Abad told reporters.

He said these executives should be guided by their respective charters in seeking answers to questions regarding Christmas bonuses.

The first installment of the state employees? cash gift (worth P5,000 in full and applicable across the board) and 13th-month pay (equivalent to a month?s salary) was given out in May. The Department of Budget and Management has released P12.8 billion to fund the second installment.

?All employees of the national government, with certain exceptions like consultants and job-order workers, will be taking home this pay for the holidays,? Abad said.

Salary increase

And state workers can expect adjustments in their basic pay, thanks to the Salary Standardization Law that was implemented starting in July.

Abad said the budget department would release an additional P2.1 billion to fund salary increases for national government employees.

Budget Circular 2010-01 provides additional pay for government personnel on regular, contractual or casual status, whether in appointive or elective posts.

The circular also covers the military and police, as well as personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Philippine Coast Guard, and National Mapping and Resource Information Authority.

Abad said employees of local governments and government firms were ?also entitled to these benefits, but these will have to come from their respective local government and corporate funds.?

He said those hired without employee-employer relationships and paid from funds not part of the legislated allocation for personnel services would not receive additional pay.

These include consultants and hired experts, laborers hired through job contracts, and those paid on piecework basis, as well as student workers and apprentices, he said.

Abad also said the budget department was studying recommending to President Aquino the grant to national government employees of an additional ?holiday bonus? in the form of the productivity enhancement incentive.

As of the end of September, Malacañang had spent P259.8 billion more than its budget, which is about 80 percent of the expected full-year budget deficit of P325 billion.

Under scrutiny

With their extravagant bonuses becoming the subject of a recent Senate inquiry, GOCC and GFI executives are expected to do a bit of belt-tightening.

?[Since] they are now under scrutiny, I think they will be more prudent in the kind of Christmas bonus package that they are going to give their employees,? Abad said.

?Of course, the boards? benefits are suspended,? he said, adding that the review and recommendations of the technical working group were almost done.

Abad said discussions with the private sector were being conducted in order to determine the reasonable bonus levels for GOCC/GFI directors and trustees.

?The benchmark is the private sector?the comparative private-sector pay,? he said.



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