Editorial: Maybe not

·2 min read

Perhaps, the public needs more of Cebu City Mayor Edgard Labella’s explanation on why the City Hall employees deserve the P10,000 Charter Day Bonus. His recommendation explained it this way: “...for their (City Hall workers) accomplishments and other efforts which contribute to the improvement of government operations or for other extraordinary acts of service in the public interest.”

The Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (Praise) committee had recommended a P10,000 Charter Day cash incentive for each of the City Government employees. The mayor highly commended the tax collectors and health workers who had been in the front lines to see to it that government’s lifeline—cash and public health—continue to flow efficiently amid the paralyzing pandemic.

“Angay sad nato hibaw-an na duna tay mga empleyado hilabi na kadtong mangolekta of payments kay dunay close contact sa public. Duna tay mga empleyado nga nangamatay tungod sa Covid-19, tungod sa ilang trabaho nga duol kaayo sa mga tawo (We should know that we have employees, especially those who collect taxes, who had close contact with the public. We have workers who died of Covid-19, because they’re at the front lines),” said Labella.

The mayor said that although he recommends the bonus, he’d rather listen to the views of the City councilors, who are set to tackle the recommendation on April 7.

“Close contact” with people while at work, it so happens, isn’t the exclusive state of government workers. This is true for most workers in this pandemic who can’t be in the work-from-home scheme. They, too, help the economy move. They, too, do “extraordinary acts of service in the public interest.” They, too, deserve a bonus if we are to follow the mayor’s word.

Expectedly, opposition councilors are quick to the draw, objecting promptly to the recommendation by saying it is insensitive for the City Government to be profligate while people stagger in the Covid-19 crisis. Councilor Alvin Dizon said that should the Council, majority of whom are administration allies, approve the recommendation, he’d turn down the bonus.

“I will not get my Charter Day bonus in deference to the Cebuano taxpayers,” Dizon said.

We don’t have figures as of the moment on the exact amount of funds that the City will have to release for all of its workers’ Charter Day bonus. Although we know that amount can go a long way as far as helping sectors that had been severely affected by the crisis. The aid flow will never be enough, especially in uncertain times while our vaccine waiting time drags.

Although, in the end, so as not to demoralize the City Hall workers, a certain cut from the recommended amount, decent enough to not qualify as profligate will do. That, the City Council may consider.