The Progressive Alliance of Capitol Employees yesterday said whether their members’ salary increases are considered retroactive or not, they remain to be at the losing end.
This is because when their pay hike is paid retroactively from the date of approval, the employees will still pay the two percent penalties and surcharges imposed by Government Services Insurance System on delayed remittances, the PACE statement sent by its officer, Renelo Lastierre, said.
The PACE has been calling on the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to approve the 2013 budget so that the fourth tranche of their salary increases can be released, amid warnings that it cannot be paid retroactively.
But an official of the Department of Budget and Management said the salary increases of the Negros Occidental provincial government employees may be paid retroactively to January 1 this year, even if the SP approves the 2013 budget at a later date.
In a letter to Board Member Manuel Frederick Ko, copies of which he furnished the media last week, DBM Director IV Myrna Chua said that, notwithstanding the date of approval of the 2013 budget, the fourth tranche salary adjustments of its employees may take effect Jan. 1, 2013.
Ko charged that the camp of Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. had been misleading the employees by saying that their salary increase cannot be paid retroactively.
He also said officials of the PACE should have gone out of their way to seek the information he got from the DBM to protect the interest of their members, instead of feeding them with wrong information that their pay hikes could not be paid retroactively.
Ko said differential payments to Capitol employees, who retired before the 2013 budget is passed, will also be made.
“Retroactive or not, the agony of the employees will continue until the annual budget is finally approved to which all salary increases and other employees benefits depend upon,” the PACE statement issued yesterday said.
What is worst is that provincial government retirees are being punished, instead of being rewarded for dedicating their lives in public service, their retirement benefits and lifetime pension were affected, depriving them of what is due to them, the PACE added.
The PACE said they have already explained the effects of the payment of their salary increases on a retroactive or non-retroactive basis to their members, in reaction to a statement of Ko last week.
“We have explained all angles long before any opinion of the DILG and DBM was sought by them. What is clear to us is that, in all instances as earlier explained in our previous statement, the employees remain the victims of this political war,” the PACE statement said.
Meanwhile, Jose Ma. Valencia, chief of staff and spokesman of Marañon, yesterday called foul the statement of Board Member Patrick Lacson, who referred to Capitol employees as “baits” of the Capitol chief executive.
Lacson said the 2,335 Capitol employees are “baits” of the governor in the midst of debates to get the 2013 budget passed by the Sanggunian.
“That is certainly an insult, and a statement so highly irresponsible especially that it came from an elective official. Majority of the employees keep their silence despite the verbal assault. It is not only painful to the senses, but an attack on the integrity and self-worth of individuals. The word bait is demeaning, politically-incorrect and has no place in the league of genuine public service,” Valencia said.
Valencia advised the SP member to further study human and organizational dynamics so as not to again insult his constituents in the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy is certainly not the “hacienda”, he said.
Lacson, in response, said the Capitol employees were first misled by statements of the governor and his allies.
“But with the DBM opinion, it became clear to majority of our provincial employees that they will be given their benefits with the approval of the 2013 budget. Rest assured we will pass the annual budget as soon as the questionable items are answered and the 20 percent development fund is clearly itemized that will be satisfactory to the majority in the council. I suggest they use other measures besides using our Capitol employees,” Lacson said.*CPG