X’mas bonus for Surigao City’s casuals, ‘job orders’ not certain

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/15 November) – It seems Surigao City’s “job order” employees and casuals will be having a blue Christmas.

Local officials are hard-pressed scouring for funds to give the city government’s 1,244 “job orders” and casuals, cash gifts traditionally given to employees during the Yuletide Season.

City Councilor Jose Expeditus B. Bayana said the city’s budget and the finance departments are still in a quandary over the total savings the local government can find when the fiscal year ends.

Savings from different departments are usually used to fund cash gifts.

“It’s important to know how much the savings really is so that the local government can know for sure whether JOs and casuals can receive their bonus,” Bayana said.

“Mao ra man gud ning kalipay sa mga JOs pag-abot sa pasko,” he said.

But Bayana implied the local government did not have sufficient funds for cash gifts.

“An ato hanapan pa nato og paagi (We will look for solutions. I will have a meeting with the local finance committee kay naa man pod ilang (because they also have a) proposal,” the councilor said.

As the fiscal year ends in December, Bayana said all department heads should save whatever available funds they have so that these can be given to temporary employees.

City Budget Officer Cecilia E. Maquiling said she was not also sure whether City Hall can afford the cash gifts. She said it was impossible to determine the available savings.

“We can only say how much the savings is until this fiscal year ends,” Maquiling said.

Maquiling said the city used to source out bonuses from the calamity and development funds.

But since the establishment of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council as mandated by law, she said the calamity fund could not be utilized anymore for this purpose.

Meanwhile, Gloria O. Gimena, head of Human Resource, said the city now has 1, 244 JOs, down from 1,800 plus. JOs earn P170 pesos a day.

She said the city government had to slash the number of JOs in anticipation of the reduced Internal Revenue Allotment of the city, with next year’s shortfall estimated at P54 million. The shortfall was due to the creation of the 16 new cities across the country.

Gimena said more JOs will have to be terminated next year.

If the city is able to give cash gifts, she said JOs that served at least four months will get the full bonus, depending on the surplus, while those who served less than four months will get a lesser amount.
(Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)