Early bonuses, special leaves for gov’t workers

Natashya Gutierrez

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The government says the early release of bonuses and special emergency leaves may help government employees recover faster from Super Typhoon Yolanda

ALL AFFECTED. Super Typhoon Yolanda affected even local government officials, making clearing and relief operations all the more difficult. Photo by EPA/Francis Malasig

MANILA, Philippines – To provide assistance for government workers who also found themselves victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the government will facilitate the early release of year-end bonuses and allow a 5-day special emergency leave.

On Wednesday, November 13, Budget Secretary Butch Abad said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will release P16.05 billion worth of bonuses for government employees, following the orders of President Benigno Aquino III.

Abad said half of the 13th month pay and a P5,000 cash gift for 1,209,375 government employees will allow them to respond better to Yolanda.

The early release is for all government employees, whether directly affected or not.

“With billions in damage already in view—not to mention the irretrievable loss of life in Yolanda-stricken areas—the Aquino administration is tapping all its resources to mobilize relief operations in all affected areas and communities,” Abad said in a statement.

“But we also need to account for how Yolanda’s survivors will fare in the aftermath, or how their friends and relatives can help in the wake of such a disaster. We hope to address that with the early release of year-end bonuses for all uniformed and civilian personnel in government.”

The DBM also released bonuses early in September 2009, in the wake of the devastating typhoon Ondoy.

Special leave

Meanwhile, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) also announced their efforts to help government workers directly affected by Yolanda.

In a separate statement, CSC Chairman Francisco T. Duque III said the Commission “sees the need to provide relief to state workers affected by natural calamities,” and said the special leave could “give them respite and ample time to de-stress, recharge, and recover from the usually traumatic experience.”

“Considering the tremendous extent of damage to life and property, the special leave may not be enough but it would surely help ease the pain our countrymen are experiencing,” he said.

The special leave will not be deducted from the number of leave days given to employees, and may be availed within 30 days “from the first day of calamity declaration by proper government agencies,” said the statement.

Both announcements extending help to government workers comes 5 days after one of the world’s strongest storms battered central Philippines leaving widespread destruction.

Desperate survivors are scrambling for aid in what the government describes as its biggest relief operations yet – a challenge for the national government that has been rendered helpless by the breakdown of communication lines and local government units (LGU). (READ: Tormented typhoon victims scour for food)

Police and LGUs have been unable to perform their jobs in the hardest-hit areas, after their own personnel were also badly affected by the storm.

As of Wednesday, Aquino said the death toll was closer to 2,500. The government has said it can tap up to P28.64 billion worth of funds for relief efforts. Rappler.com

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Natashya Gutierrez

Natashya is President of Rappler. Among the pioneers of Rappler, she is an award-winning multimedia journalist and was also former editor-in-chief of Vice News Asia-Pacific. Gutierrez was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023.