COA asks Cebu City gov’t to stop giving honoraria to village workers, youth execs
CEBU CITY –– State auditors have asked the Cebu City government to stop giving honoraria to barangay workers and youth officials, saying it is tantamount to double compensation and a violation of the law.
In its annual report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the city distributed P25,379,308 in cash allowances to the Gender and Development (GAD) focal persons, drivers and loaders, as well as officials of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) in the city’s 80 villages from July 1 to December 31 last year.
The GAD focal persons, drivers, and loaders, the commission said, were receiving honoraria from their respective barangays, hence additional allowances from the city government violate the Local Government Code of 1991 and the local budget circular of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
The giving of honoraria to SK officials, its treasurers, and secretaries, is also without a legal basis since only the SK chairperson is entitled to compensation, allowances, emoluments, and other privileges if she or he is an ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Barangay in the city, COA said.
“We recommended that the management (city) stop the practice of paying honoraria to the barangay GAD focal persons, drivers and laborers, and SK Officials,” the commission said.
Based on the electronic-new government accounting system, about P16.2 million was given to barangay drivers and laborers, while P4.8 million went to SK officials in the city last year.
GAD focal persons from the city’s barangays also received a total of P4.4 million worth of honoraria.
In its comment to the COA report, the city government said a provision of the Local Government Code stated that the city may give additional honoraria if its finances allow.
“If they (city officials) can give honoraria to the national government offices, they can also give honoraria to the barangay personnel as its counterparts. Given the barangays’ limited funds to finance the honoraria of its personnel and the risky duties and responsibilities of the drivers and loaders, it is not too much for the city to give additional honoraria,” the local government unit explained.
An honorarium is a payment given to a person in recognition of his or her expertise, broad and superior knowledge in specific fields, and special projects.
COA admitted that local government units may provide for additional allowances and other benefits to judges, prosecutors, public elementary and high school teachers, and other national government officials stationed in or assigned in their localities if its finances allow.
“However, it is explicitly provided in the DBM Local Budget Circular No. 63 that the city is prohibited to grant additional compensation to barangay officials and employees in the form of honorarium or salary increase chargeable against the city,” state auditors said.
They also cited section 95 of the Local Government Code, which provides that “no elective or appointive local official or employee shall receive additional, double, or indirect compensation unless specifically authorized by law.”
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