Makati city hall workers to receive cash incentive
MANILA, Philippines – Qualified Makati city hall employees will soon be receiving their productivity enhancement incentive (PEI) bonus equivalent to a month’s salary.
In a statement sent to reporters on Wednesday, September 16, Councilor Marie Alethea “Mayeth” Casal-Uy said the city council passed the day before City Resolution No. 2015-054 appropriating more than P135 million worth of funds to grant the cash incentive to all regular, casual, and contractual employees who have rendered continuous services for at least 4 months as of May 31, 2015, as mandated by Executive Order No. 181.
The said ordinance implements one of acting Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña Jr’s reform plans for Makati. The elected vice mayor replaced Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr in an acting capacity following Binay’s 6-month preventive suspension order.
Peña previously appealed to the city council, most of whom are supporters of the Binay family, to “uphold the greater good” and support his reform plans for the city. This includes the granting of the PEI and the complete automation of city hall’s payroll system in an attempt to rid the city government of alleged “ghost” employees.
In a phone interview with Rappler on Wednesday, Councilor Nemesio “King” Yabut Jr said he delivered a privilege speech during the city council’s session the day before to protest some of the “unfair” accusations of Peña against the councilors.
“Basically I talked about the timeline of what transpired from the time that we were being unfairly accused of sitting on [the granting of] the PEI,” said Yabut.
Since his assumption as acting mayor two months ago, Peña has been repeatedly bringing up his proposal to grant the PEI to reporters.
However, Yabut said the city council took a longer time to pass the ordinance because of the accusations that there are “ghost” city hall employees.
“That now becomes part of our deliberation process. We have to find out if there are, as he (Peña) claims, ‘ghost’ employees,” said Yabut.
‘Out of his depths’
Councilor Casal-Uy echoed the same sentiments, calling it “unfair” that the acting mayor’s camp “has been creating the impression that the [city councilors] have been dragging their feet in approving the said ordinance.”
“The acting mayor seems to be out of his depths, and so are his underlings. At the outset, they have made no bones about accusing the Binay administration of coddling some 3,000 ‘ghost’ employees,” said the councilor in a statement last week.
“Now here they are trying to railroad the council’s approval on the appropriation of funds computed based on the existing roster of employees, which they themselves claimed to be riddled with ‘ghosts,’” she added.
According to Casal-Uy, the allegations that there are “ghost” employees in city hall actually prompted the city council to be “particularly thorough” in their scrutiny of Peña’s proposed budget allocation.
Casal-Uy also emphasized that even before Binay was suspended, he had already informed the city councilors of his intention to grant the PEI.
The allegations that there are “ghost” employees in Makati first surfaced during one of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee’s hearings on the corruption accusations against Vice President Jejomar Binay, who was Makati mayor for 21 years.
City records showed that VP Binay’s long-time secretary and alleged dummy Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy continued to receive her salary even if she had been reported missing since the start of the Senate investigation in August 2014. (READ: Senate summons documents on Binay aide's pay)
Peña stopped the release of Baloloy’s salary after confirming that she still received pay as of June this year.
Senate blue ribbon subcommittee member Antonio Trillanes IV also said in July that he would release documents on the alleged Makati city hall “ghost” employees in the next hearings.
Peña denied he was accusing the city council of hindering the process of approving the cash bonus for city hall workers.
“No. Wala akong statement na hina-hamper nila [‘yung process]. What I’m saying is nasa balikat nila [‘yung burden] (No. I didn’t release a statement saying that they were hampering the process. What I’m saying is that the burden was on their shoulders),” he told Rappler in a phone interview.
He said that since most of the city council members are allied with Mayor Binay, it should have been easier for them to approve the ordinance when he was still in office.
“Bakit kung kailan siya ginalawan ko, doon lang siya na-approve (Why is it that the ordinance was only approved when I already acted on it)?” questioned Peña.
The Binay camp had previously accused Peña of credit-grabbing from Mayor Binay, another allegation that Pena has denied.
On Thursday, September 17, the Makati Action Center will be conducting an audit of all city hall employees as part of the city government’s investigation on the alleged “ghost” employees. – Rappler.com