Muntinlupa gov’t tightens belt to fund COVID-19 programs
MANILA, Philippines — Muntinlupa City Hall employees will no longer get one sack of rice each in December while some of their benefits will be cut as the local government implements “economic and austerity measures” to continue funding its programs against the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Under City Ordinance No. 2020-105 signed by Mayor Jaime Fresnedi on Monday, the cost-cutting measures that take effect today include no more overtime pay for all government employees while personnel entitled to hazard pay in relation to COVID-19 would be covered only until May 15. However, those at the city health office, Ospital ng Muntinlupa, city veterinary office and traffic management bureau would continue to receive their hazard pay.
Cut in allowances
The ordinance also suspended the honoraria of personnel involved in committees or technical working groups while those assigned to national government agencies would take a 50 percent cut in their allowances.
A freeze on the hiring of new personnel was also imposed, except in health, law enforcement, sanitation, social services and other essential services departments. All officials and staff members were barred from traveling while events, activities, and the purchase of supplies not related to the city’s COVID-19 response was put on hold.
No economic activity
According to Councilor Raul Corro, chair of the budget committee and majority floor leader, the city’s tax collection drive was affected by the lack of economic activity due to the nearly four-month lockdown.
“This is a test of the city government’s ability to spend funds wisely. Because we will not get the income we were expecting to go into the city’s coffers, we need to cut our expenses and allot enough for funds for our primary needs,” Corro said.
“If the economy doesn’t improve and as long as there is no vaccine or medicine against COVID-19, we will continue to cut costs until the end of the year or even longer than that,” he added.
The city council passed early in June an ordinance authorizing the realignment of P1.182 billion in unexpended general funds and P100.7 million from the national government as its share of the Bayanihan Grant to COVID-19 related programs and projects.
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