Bukidnon, Malaybalay job order employees sign promissory notes for extra cash gifts

MALAYBALAY CITY  (MindaNews/31 December) — Job order employees of the Bukidnon provincial government and the city government of Malaybalay received extra cash gifts or performance enhancement incentives (PEI) ranging from P20,000 to P30,000 at the end of the year but not without signing promissory notes that they would pay the amounts back if the Commission on Audit disallows its release.

Provo Antipasado Jr, provincial administrator said job order employees of the Capitol were made to promise to pay the cash gift back in case COA disallows it.

A source in the Capitol said there were 133 job order employees of the province as of November 2011. Each of the JO employee received P30,000 or around P3.9 million of the P138.66 million PEI of the province this year.

In the city government, where each job order employee was given P20,000 as PEI, Councilor Roland Deticio said they also made employees sign a collective promissory note.

He said if disallowed by COA, the amount will be deducted from the salaries of employees.

City Administrator Herculano Ronolo said the city employs about 1,000 job order employees out of its 1,700 workforce. Based on MindaNews estimates, at P20,000 each, the city government released about P20 million for its job order employees.

The 700 regular employees received P40,000 each for approximately P28 million. No information has been released yet about the share of barangay functionaries of the PEI.

The Department of Budget and Management issued on December 5, 2011 Budget Circular 2011-4, which provided guidelines on the granting of  PEIs. The guidelines were based on President Benigno Aquino III’s Administrative Order No. 24, which granted authority for the release of PEI in 2011, for “rewards for exceeding agency financial and operational performance targets and to motivate employee efforts towards greater productivity.”

The circular reminded LGUs to exercise prudence in the use of government funds for the purpose.

“The Sanggunian shall ensure that the amount of the PEl and the corresponding expenditure there for are reasonable and will not, in any way, adversely affect the delivery of services to the public,” according to the circular. Sources said the clarification was made due to some LGUs’ exorbitant releases of PEIs.

Deticio, who sits at the provincial board representing the councilors’ league, said local government units found the circular vague in its provisions on the PEI for job order employees.

He said the signing of promissory notes is a “play safe” mechanism of the city and provincial government. Antipasado confirmed that, indeed, the cash incentives will be deducted from salaries if disallowed.

Based on the copy obtained from the DBM website, the guideline provided in item 4.4 that “individuals and groups of people whose services are engaged through job orders, contracts of services, or others similarly situated” are excluded from the release of PEIs.

Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr told the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on December 20 that he would seek clarification from COA about the matter.

MindaNews sources among job order employees from both LGUs said they have received the PEI, but  had to sign a promissory note for it. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)