DBM circular irks gov’t workers in Southwestern Mindanao

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/1 Feb) – Workers’ union in the government sector in Southwestern Mindanao are up in arms against the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for issuing what they call an “oppressive” circular that will deprive them of huge incentives at the end of the year.

Anacleto Saya-ang, president of the Sarangani Province Employees Union, said that several unions of government employees in the region launched a signature campaign since last week in protest of DBM Circular No. 2011-05.

“Around 5,000 regular government employees in the region will be affected by this DBM order, in which we would be virtually getting ‘no incentives’ [at the end of the year],” Saya-ang told MindaNews on Wednesday.

The DBM issued Budget Circular No. 2011-05 on December 26, 2011 providing for supplemental guidelines on the grant of Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) incentives.

The guidelines stipulate that “savings from only the following MOOE (Maintenance and Other Operating Expense) items may be used as fund source of the CNA incentives such as Travelling Allowance, Communication Allowance, Repair and Maintenance, Transportation and Delivery expense, Supplies and Materials and Utility expense.”

With the new circular, the granting of CNA incentives will become impossible because the accounts mentioned are usually used up at the end of each year, Saya-ang said in a separate statement.

Last year, Saya-ang noted that Sarangani government workers received P35,000 bonus out of the P40 million MOOE savings of the provincial government.

He said the DBM circular stated that 90% of the annual MOOE must be utilized, which left only a room of 10% for savings.

The savings, as has been the practice of local government units in the area, become the source of cash bonus for the employees during December.

The Public Sector Employees’ Alliance of Socsksargen (PSEAS) discussed the moves they would take against the “oppressive” DBM circular last week during their regular monthly meeting.

The group is composed of government workers in the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani, and General Santos City.

Saya-ang said the members were given until February 5 to affix their signatures to the petition thrashing the circular.

These will be submitted to the Public Sector Labor Management Council (PSLMC), which is set to meet in Manila on February 10, he added.

President Benigno C. Aquino III will be furnished a copy of these signatures and their petition, as well as the DBM, Saya-ang said.

Tomas Robles, PSEAS president, said their petition also seeks to inform the other members of the PSLMC of the “oppressive” circular of the DBM.

The DBM is just a member of the PSLMC, he said.

Constituted through Executive Order 180, the PSLMC is composed primarily by the secretaries of Justice, Budget and Management, Labor and Employment and the chairperson of the Civil Service Commission. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)