Many people have formed a bad opinion about me because of my opposition to the Php. 25,000.00 cash gift (3.6 Million pesos in total) requested by the municipal employees, which was hastily approved by our Sangguniang Bayan and released by our vice-mayor while I was away on official business. Some say I am a miser, some say I am just plain mean.
Let me set things straight: By opposing the cash gift, I am also depriving myself of Php25,000.00 because I too was due to receive it as per the resolution passed by the Sanggunian, together with all the other elective officials in the municipality.
The reason I oppose the granting of the cash gift is that it is simply contrary to law. It violates Section 325 of the Local Government Code of 1991 which says:
Section 325. General Limitations. - The use of the provincial, city, and municipal funds shall be subject to the following limitations:
(a) The total appropriations, whether annual or supplemental, for personal services of a local government unit for one (1) fiscal year shall not exceed forty-five percent (45%) in the case of first to third class provinces, cities and municipalities....
The Municipality of Gubat's Personal Services (PS), meaning the total expenses for the payment of salaries, wages and other compensation , already exceeds 45% of the total annual budget. The granting of the Php25,000.00 cash gift further bloated the excess in the PS expenditures of the municipality by close to four million pesos.
What about the Php10,000.00 cash gift due to all government employees announced by President Aquino? The President's Administrative Order No. 3 says:
SECTION 4. PEI for Employees in LGUs. The grant of the one-time PEI to employees in LGUs, including those in barangay governments, shall be determined by the sanggunian depending on the LGU financial capability, subject to the Personal Services limitation in the LGU budgets under R.A. No. 7160....
It is very clear from the text of the President's AO No. 3 that the granting of a Php10,000.00 cash gift to LGU employees is still subject to the PS limit set by the Local Government Code. If an LGU has already exceeded the limit, as Gubat has, it should not grant even the Php10,000.00 cash gift mentioned by President Aquino, much less Php25,000.00.
The grant of the Php25,000.00 cash gift to our municipal employees, approved by our Sangguniang Bayan and released by our vice-mayor, is, therefore, contrary to law (not to mention the spirit of general austerity being laudably introduced by our president), and that is why I stand firm against it.