BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) continues to uphold the autonomy of local government units in granting additional incentives to all local officials and employees over and above those incentives being provided by the national government, especially in recognition of their performance and productivity, that resulted to increased savings for them by the end of the year, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said here.
Abad informed Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan that the DBM believes in the prevalence of local autonomy in the disbursement of funds for the incentives of local officials and employees, thus, he will not deviate from the provisions of an earlier memorandum that fixes year-end bonuses for national officials and employees at P10,000 but local governments could grant additional compensation to their workers depending on the availability of funds and the capacity of the LGUs to absorb such disbursements.
Domogan reminded Secretary Abad on the refusal of the Commission on Audit (COA) to recognize his memorandum granting added incentives to local officials and employees provided that funds are available, saying that auditors continue to insist that local governments cannot grant year-end bonuses to their workers beyond P10,000 reportedly using Secretary Abad’s own memorandum stating among others.
Secretary Abad said he will make representations to COA authorities to remind them about the local and fiscal autonomy of local governments in the utilization of their available funds, especially in the granting of additional year-end bonuses over and above the regular 13 month pay and P5,000 cash gift.
“It is very clear that the money is given to the officials and employees in recognition of their hardwork and dedication to public service. WE are not stealing the money but it seems COA authorities have different interpretations on what is contained in your memorandum,” Domogan told Secretary Abad at the sidelights of the three-day Annual Convention of the Association of Government Accountants of the Philippines (AGAP) that ended Friday.
He said DBM and COA must come to terms in relation to their respective issuances so as not to confuse deserving local officials and employees who are deserving of additional year end incentives which they could use for the upcoming Yuletide celebrations.
Domogan disclosed the additional incentives granted by the city government to its over 1,500 officials and employees to the tune of one and one half month salary plus P20,000 was branded as excessive by the COA and was subjected to an audit observation memorandum when in fact, Abad’s memorandum also stipulated the authority of the local government to grant additional incentives to their employees and officials in recognition of local and fiscal autonomy.
Domogan said the incentives granted to city officials and employees was contained in an ordinance which the COA demanded to be passed prior to the grant of the bonus but it declared it as excessive even if the local government had the sufficient funds to cover the grant of additional incentives.
Secretary Abad asserted the DBM already made its decision relative to the grant of additional incentives to local officials and employees which could go over and above the P10,000 limit, provided that the local government is capable of providing the funds for the added year-end bonus.