Half of Bukidnon’s P270-million supplemental budget for cash gifts

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/16 December) — The Bukidnon provincial board approved Wednesday a total of P269.18 million in supplemental budget with more than half of it, or P138.66 million, for the productivity enhancement incentives (PEI) for employees, copies of official documents obtained from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan showed.

The budget for the cash incentives amounted to 10.6 percent of Bukidnon’s P1.31- billion internal revenue allotment (IRA) this year.

The amount is also more than double the cut on the province’s (IRA) for 2012.

Bukidnon, which received an IRA of P1.311 billion in 2011, will only receive P1.249 billion next year or P62.2 million less, due to the five-percent shortfall in the national revenue in 2009, which is the basis for the computation of the IRA for 2012.

The last supplemental budget for 2011 is composed of Supplemental Budget No. 6 for General Fund at P146.642 million and Supplemental Budget No. 6 for Economic Enterprise at P122.540 million.

About 53 percent or P77.520 million of the supplemental budget for general fund and about 50 percent or P61.14 million of the supplemental budget for economic enterprise was appropriated for the incentives.

According to the joint certification issued by the provincial accountant and the provincial treasurer, funds for the incentives were available from savings.

For the general fund, savings came from reversion of current appropriations namely, P33.093 million from personal services from different offices; P29.513 million from the maintenance and operating expenses of different offices not specified in the documents; P16.898 million from “non-offices”; and P7.137 million from amortization not specified.

About P60 million in unexpended funds from economic enterprise were transferred to the general fund.

Board member Ranulfo Pepito, chair of the SP committee on appropriations confirmed the supplemental budget was approved last Wednesday.

But he could not explain the items in the budget. He said they approved only the lump sum after the local finance committee certified the availability of funds.

A consultant to the committee declined to disclose details as to how much will be given to how many, citing they were still clarifying the budget circulars on the release of incentives to workers.

Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. announced last week regular and casual employees of the provincial government will receive P60,000 each in cash gift.

Gov. Alex Calingasan confirmed the plan to grant P60,000 in cash gift to each regular and casual employee, adding it is at least smaller than the P80,000 given last year.

In January this year, Calingasan vowed to cut the amount of the cash incentives to be given this month, saying P80,000 is “too big”.

He explained that last year he approved the amount of P80,000 – the amount that regular and casual employees had been receiving during Zubiri’s term as governor – because abruptly reducing it might cause a stir.

The governor said he wanted to reduce the amount to free more funds for livelihood projects and enable more constituents to benefit from the savings of the provincial government.

As early as January he said he might cut the amount of the incentive by half.

The provincial government of Bukidnon released a total of P184.92 million for cash gifts in 2010, sources said.

Last year, all elected and appointive officials, regular and casual employees numbering 2,286 received P80,000 each based on a computation by MindaNews.

Fifty-one “job order” employees got P40,000 each. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)