MWSS employees got 32 months of bonus -- Alikpala
MANILA, Philippines - The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said some of the 'illegal' bonuses that employees received included birthday and State of the Nation Address (SONA) bonuses.
In a phone interview, MWSS Chairman Ramon Alikpala told Rappler that these bonuses have gone on for many years despite the repeated call of the Commission on Audit (COA) to remove them.
"Our job is to reform the agency and if there are no legal bases for these bonuses, we have to remove them," Alikpala said. "I really don't know how they (employees) were able to do it [all these years]."
'32 months' of bonuses
Alikpala explained that while the bonuses depended on the base salaries of employees, all these bonuses were implemented across the board.
He said that before, all MWSS employees enjoyed as much as 32 months of bonuses, which were tax-free.
This means that if an employee received a base salary of P30,000 a month, a SONA bonus or a birthday bonus is equivalent to a month's pay sans the tax.
Alikpala said, "2009 was extraordinary because, in that year, we had Ondoy. They [MWSS] gave an Ondoy bonus apart from other bonuses like Christmas. They will find any excuse to give a bonus so they gave a total of 32 months of bonuses in 2009," Alikpala said.
Monthly salaries may further decline
Alikpala said the Board of the MWSS is still in the process of reviewing all the employees benefits and could still result to further reductions in salaries.
This means that the base pay of drivers -- pegged at P38,000 -- may be slashed further to around or below P20,000 a month.
With all the bonuses they were receiving on top of their base salaries, MWSS drivers used to take home up to P97,000 a month.
Alikpala said the further reductions on their base pay will make the salaries of MWSS drivers at par with that of their counterparts in other government agencies which, like MWSS, is covered by the salary standardization law. - Rappler.com