Public school teachers slam performance bonus introduced by Palace
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang’s performance-based bonus (PBB) did not live up to its promise of rewarding good-performing government employees, a group representing public school teachers said.
The first batch of 409,725 teaching and non-teaching personnel from 29,284 public schools began receiving last week their 2012 bonus.
Most other government employees have not received their bonuses.
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said the feedback they received showed the teachers were not happy with the amount they received.
TDC chairperson Benjo Basas said the promised maximum P35,000 bonus was limited to only 10 per cent of the government workforce, contrary to official pronouncements that the top amount would be available to all who performed very well.
He said the teachers also complained that the bonus was unfairly based on aspects of individual school performance — namely aptitude test results, dropout rate and budget liquidation — over which the teachers had no control.
“The delay (in the release of the bonus) is only a manifestation that Aquino’s PBB system is problematic,” Basas said.
With nearly 600,000 personnel including about 530,000 teachers, the Department of Education comprises about half of the total bureaucracy.
Last December Malacañang scrapped the P10,000 year-end bonus traditionally given to state employees and instead granted only P5,000 as so-called productivity enhancement incentive (PEI).
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) wanted all agencies to justify why their employees should get an additional bonus called the performance-based bonus ranging from P5,000 for good performing employees in a good performing agency, to P35,000 for best performing employees in the best performing agencies.
Basas said teachers wanted a return to the across-the-board bonus or to the grant of non-monetary benefits such as tax exemptions, housing and health benefits and scholarships including those for teachers’ children.
According to the DepEd guidelines approved by the inter-agency task force on the PBB, the teachers’ bonuses are based on their respective school’s performance and not on individual performance.
A school’s performance will be measured by three indicators: the National Achievement Test (NAT) results, the dropout rate, and the school’s liquidation of its maintenance, operating and other expenses (MOOE).
The NAT is given to Grade 3 and Grade 6 pupils and fourth year high school students every year to measure the mastery of the students in core subjects.
Officials and employees based in the central regional and division offices and attached agencies except the Philippine High School for the Arts will be evaluated based on the performance of their units and on individual performance.
Basas said NAT should not be a basis for the bonus “because this can be easily manipulated,” alluding to long-held observations that some schools coach their students to avoid having to report that their students failed the aptitude test.
“The NAT, drop-out rate and the MOOE report of the school are not under the direct responsibility of the teachers so it’s not fair that the teachers should be penalized if these are not in order,” Basas said.
He pointed out that big schools were automatically at a disadvantage in getting a high average NAT score, in managing the dropout rate and in the disbursement of the MOOE.
“Instead of resulting in higher productivity and better performance, there will only be division and unhealthy competition among employees and agencies,” Basas said.
He said it turned out the DBM has put a 10 per cent cap on the number of “best performing” employees in the “best performing” agencies.
“This means only one per cent of all employees in an agency will fall under the best-best category, which is confusing if not deceptive for employees because of the promise and the press release that made it appear that all employees can get get a high amount or the maximum P35,000 bonus,” he said.
“According to an example made by DBM, only 196 teachers in the entire National Capital Region can get P35, 000,” Basas continued.
He said a merit-based incentive bonus should not put a cap on the number of employees who can get the maximum amount, but should allow all those who get a high performance rating to get the maximum bonus.
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