Briones: Cebu City’s largesse

Publio Briones

THE more than 5,000 employees of the Cebu City Government must be having a field day.

It was announced that Mayor Edgardo Labella just signed the release of P101 million worth of additional bonuses for them on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019.

According to the SunStar Cebu report, that amounts to P20,000 per employee in addition to their 13th month pay, which is mandated by law, and their 14th month pay.

“Regardless of their rank or position, the City’s regular, casual and elected officials will receive the same amount, across the board,” the report said.

Hmm. That’s certainly welcome news for the City’s sanitation engineers, aka garbage collectors, street cleaners and other employees in the lower rung on the City Hall ladder.

The budget for their windfall will be taken from City Hall savings, which, I believe, is actually taxpayers’ money. If that is the case, shouldn’t we, the law-abiding, tax-paying residents of Cebu City, have a say on how our hard-earned money is spent? Or at least be consulted.

I mean, look around you. In Barangay Sambag 1, half of the streets are being “rehabilitated.” In fact, a less than 50-meter stretch on V. Urgello St., from Osmeña Blvd. short of reaching the corner of Ascencion St., has been under repair for several months now.

On J. Urgello St., they’ve also destroyed half of the asphalted road and are replacing it with cement. Try walking up and down Uytengsu St. The side of some portions have become impromptu dumpsites. I should know. I take that route every day on my way to the office or to the oval at the sports center.

Mind you, this year’s Christmas bonus is twice the amount of P10,000 given by Labella’s predecessor, former mayor Tomas Osmena, last year. I’m not saying the employees don’t deserve it. Okay, maybe I am.

Come on, the City Government hasn’t even solved the traffic problem. Or the water problem. Or the problem of the homeless, whose numbers have been growing steadily since September. And there are many other problems out there that need addressing.

So how will it justify its generosity?

Given that the cash release is based on the recommendation of the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence headed by Assistant City Administrator Junine Aragones. Still, the mayor should have exercised some restraint, knowing full well that many of his constituents are languishing in misery.

I mean, do you really think the family living in one of the flyovers in the city really cares that one city official will use the P20,000 to pay for the monthly installment of his car?

I’m just saying.