Manila public school teachers protest vs ‘unpaid’ assistance | Inquirer News

Manila public school teachers protest vs ‘unpaid’ assistance

/ 07:52 PM February 10, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—Manila public school teachers on Friday staged a protest action at the Bonifacio Shrine across the Manila City Hall to demand for the payment of some P520 million worth of financial assistance that they and other city workers claim to have been deprived of since 2010.

However, the Manila city government alleged that apart from having no money to pay for the financial assistance, the monetary help has been questioned by the Commission on Audit.

Melinda Añonuevo, president of the 11,000-strong Manila Public School Teachers Association Inc., lamented how it seemed they were the least of the city government’s priorities in terms of payment.


She claimed that the city is obligated to pay each teacher P6,000 and P30,000 for every non-teaching city employee, exclusive of their unpaid P10,000 performance enhancement incentive for 2010 and the third tranche under the salary standardization law.


“We are holding this protest action in two shifts, morning and afternoon, so as not to disturb our students’ classes in school,” Añonuevo told the Inquirer.

She said at least 500 teachers are each taking the two shifts.

Añonuevo said the city’s public school teachers have been receiving financial assistance from the city government for several years since 2005 to enable them to cope with the increasing cost of living.

“To deny us this benefit is unlawful and unjust and would demean the status of teachers as partners of government in uplifting the economic condition of the sector,” Añonuevo said, adding that denying them the benefit was “both illegal and immoral.”

She and her colleagues urged the office of the mayor to pay them, as well as non-teaching personnel and city employees, its obligation by way of financial assistance of P520 million covering July to December, 2010 and July to December, 2011.

“Manila teachers should be receiving from the City of Manila monthly financial assistance of P500 appropriated in the general fund … City employees and officials, as well as nationally paid non-teaching personnel should be paid P2,500 monthly financial assistance allocated from the same fund,” Añonuevo explained,


She said non-payment of the financial assistance started in July to December 2010 and recurred the following year for the same period.

The group likewise called for the allocation of funds for the payment of financial assistance in the city’s annual executive budget under personal services, as provided for in the new government accounting system.

“This financial obligation (P520 million) is expected to balloon if the city government does not promptly and seriously address the problem,” Añonuevo said. .

Ric De Guzman, Manila mayor Alfredo Lim’s chief-of-staff, told the INQUIRER that the city government suffered a shortfall on funds in 2010.

“They (public school teachers) think that the city government is holding on to the allocations when in fact, the city does not have available funds for the financial assistance,” De Guzman said.

Likewise, he revealed, that the internal auditor has questioned the financial assistance as a form of “double compensation.”

In a memorandum, dated November 21, 2011, a copy of which was obtained by the INQUIRER, city auditor Chito Ramirez made an observation, saying “The City of Manila has granted financial assistance to its officials and employees, as well as to the personnel of the national government stationed in or assigned to the city, without legal basis.”

He further stated: “The City can only provide additional allowances and other benefits when there is a law that (expressly) authorizes payment of which and that the finances of the City may allow, it shall clearly indicate the source/s of funds available for appropriations which shall be certified by the local treasurer and local accountant and attested/approved by the local chief executive.”

Ramirez also said that based on the city’s financial statements as of June, 2011, the City has granted a total of P260.9-million financial assistance to its employees and other national government officials assigned to the city without observing the requirements of provisions in regulations, including the salary standardization law.

He also noted that the financial assistance is not provided in the city’s annual executive budget and are recorded under maintenance and other operating expenses instead of personal services although the assistance constitute additional allowance under the new government accounting system.

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In light of this, Ramirez required the city government to lay the legal basis for the financial assistance and to present a certificate of availability of funds signed by the local treasurer, accountant, and chief executive.

TAGS: Government, Metro, Teachers

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