Pasay teachers protest drastic cut in allowances
Public school teachers in Pasay City have decried the 66 percent cut in their cost of living allowance (Cola), saying the city government’s move to trim its expenditures at their expense was cruel and inconsiderate.
About 100 teachers carrying placards trooped to the Pasay City Hall compound on Tuesday to denounce the decrease in their Cola that was reflected in their pay slips only this month.
Salvador Albotra, president of the federation of public school teachers’ associations in Pasay City, said the teachers’ P3,500 monthly allowance taken from the city government’s special education fund was reduced to P1,200 starting in September.
The reduction was based on the five-page Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) issued by the local auditor of the Commission on Audit (COA) on Feb. 11.
The COA, through the AOM, had recommended that the teachers’ allowance be reduced to P1,200, citing Local Budget Circular (LBC) No. 23 which limited the allowances and other benefits of the city’s public school teachers to P1,200.
The teachers’ group, however, argued that the LBC had been declared null and void by the Supreme Court in the case of Judge Tomas Leynes vs COA.
“This is cruel, unfair, and inconsiderate. We were not even informed about their plans to cut our allowance,” Albotra said.
He added that from 2008, their Cola gradually went up from P1,200 to P3,500 upon their request which the city government granted.
Albotra said that the teachers were informed by the Department of Education’s division superintendent two weeks before the cut in their allowances took effect and despite their appeal to the Pasay City government.
Sought for his reaction, Mayor Tony Calixto said the teachers should write to COA and explain why their allowance should not be reduced to P1,200.
“I support their cause. I believe our teachers need this. But any decision of the COA cannot be ignored,” he told the Inquirer.
Officials of the teachers’ group, meanwhile, said they would seek the help of COA Chair Grace Pulido-Tan.