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Labor group Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo-Kilusang Mayo Uno (AMA Sugbo-KMU) urged Cebu City acting mayor Mike Rama to reconsider his “No vax-No Xmas bonus” directive for city hall workers on Tuesday, November 9.
“Sa karon nga panahon nga taas ang mga nag unang palaliton ug mga bayronon sama sa kuryente, tubig, pamasahe, kinahanglan gyud og bonus ang mga empleyado sa Cebu City,” AMA Sugbo-KMU chair Jaime Paglinawan told Rappler in a text message.
(In this period of high-priced goods and bills for electricity, water, and travel, it is vital that employees of Cebu City receive their bonus.)
On Monday, November 8, Rama announced that city hall employees can only get a P20,000 Christmas bonus this year-end if every single employee has been fully-vaccinated.
Paglinawan said that the bonus shouldn’t be used as a “bait” to get people to be vaccinated.
Despite this, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Tuesday press briefing that there was no problem with LGUs making similar directives.
“Hindi naman requirement ng batas na magbigay ng Christmas bonus,” he said.
(It’s not really a requirement of the law to give Christmas bonus)
“Discretionary po ang Christmas bonus. Pwedeng gamiting po yan kabahagi ng incentive para makapag-bakuna ang marami sa atin,” he added.
(The Christmas bonus is discretionary. It can be used as part of the incentives to vaccinate many)
All or nothing
Rama explained his directive, saying it supports the city government’s existing COVID-19 vaccination program, which has vaccinated a little over 350,000 individuals or 50.67% of the city’s 700,000 total eligible population.
“The bonus will be granted—ought to be for all—but as I have said this morning, no release of bonus until we can see all have been fully vaccinated,” said Rama in a press conference on Monday, November 8.
Rama believes that the local government must set a good example by ensuring everyone in the city hall is fully inoculated.
“The bonus is something that’s a prerogative of the city of Cebu. In fact, the finality will depend on the approval by the city council,” he said.
Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, head of the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), said he supported Rama’s directive.
As of this writing, COVID-19 cases in Cebu City are at an all-time low with the Department of Health in Central Visayas recording a total of 277 active cases. On Monday, November 8, the city recorded only 5 new active cases.