Bukidnon eyes P60T Christmas cash gifts to employees

MALAYBALAY CITY –  Bukidnon Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr announced last week that the provincial government can free funds to give P60,000 cash gifts or performance enhancement incentives to regular employees and casual employees.

Zubiri made the announcement as the Local Finance Committee at the Capitol is yet to present to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan its report on savings and availability of funds.

Board member Ranulfo Pepito, who chairs the board’s committee on appropriations, told Bukidnon News it is yet to be finalized with the presentation of certifications from the LFC.

He said job order employees and other contractual workers will get P30,000. Pepito said budget circulars allowed the provincial government to free funds for PEI if it has enough savings and has paid all its mandatory obligations, among other regulations.

Pepito or the budget office could not provide information yet on the savings for 2011, a matter expected to be tackled on December 14. Gov. Alex Calingasan confirmed the plan, adding it is at least smaller than the PEI released last year at P80,000.

But he could not quantify if the decrease in the bonus resulted in an increase in the budget for livelihood.

“We have a lot of livelihood projects this year,” he said via telephone Monday.

In January this year, Calingasan vowed to cut the extra cash gifts, or what is now known as the performance enhancement incentives, the provincial government intends to give to its employees in December 2011.

Calingasan said P80,000 is “too big”.

He explained that he approved the same amount last December because he did not want the employees to think he is veering too soon from former Governor and now Vice Gov. Zubiri’s popular move to give P80,000.

The governor said he could reduce the amount and free more funds for livelihood projects, which could spread the province’s savings to more constituents.

But he said via telephone he could not cut largely right away as it might cause a stir.

He told capitol employees about the plan during the January 10 Monday convocation program. He said starting the first month of the year he would already condition their minds about the cut so they can prepare for it.

He told Bukidnon News he might cut the bonus by half.

The provincial government of Bukidnon released a total of P184.92 million for extra cash in 2010, reliable sources at the Capitol who asked not to be named said.

All elected and appointive officials, regular and casual employees numbering 2,286 received P80,000 each based on a computation by Bukidnon News. Fifty-one “job order” employees got P40,000 each.

The total amount for the incentives is even greater than the combined 2011 general fund allocations for Provincial Indigency Health Project at P17.8 million, the Provincial Housing and Resettlement Office at P5.87 million, and the special education fund of P37 million, including P24.37 million for construction, rehabilitation, repair and completion of school buildings and other structures.

Calingasan also warned capitol employees to avoid going to his office to lobby for their children and relatives to be hired in the provincial government. He said the positions must be spread to as many families. (Walter I. Balane / Bukidnon News)

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