COA orders DOH officials to return P14-M excess hazard pay
The Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered officials of the Department of Health (DOH) and higher-ranking employees to return P14.04 million in excessive hazard pay.
In a recently-released three-page decision dated Nov. 24, 2017, COA declared final and executory the two notices of disallowance issued in 2011 for the benefits amounting to P7.11 million in 2009 and P6.94 million in 2010.
COA said the DOH, through Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau Director Kenneth Ronquillo, filed the appeal beyond the 180-day period allowed by the rules.
Even the agency’s first petition for review at the level of the COA National Government Sector Cluster 6 was already filed past the deadline, but the said office only decided to relax the procedural rules and denied the appeal on its merits.
COA said that even if it set aside technicalities the DOH failed to present new evidence to warrant the lifting of the notices of disallowance.
It reiterated that Republic Act No. 7305 limited the hazard pay for public health workers with a salary grade of 20 and above to only 5 percent of their monthly salaries.
Citing the Supreme Court’s November 2008 resolution, COA stressed: “DOH is not empowered to fix an exact amount of hazard pay accruing to public health workers with Salary Grade 20 and above, deviating from the 5% monthly salary benchmark.” /atm
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