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Delayed release of DepEd performance bonus assailed

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By Ellson Quismorio

ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro scored the long-delayed release of the 2016 Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) of the Department of Education (DepEd) employees due to the agency’s slow submission of its documents for the processing of the benefit.

“The school year 2017-2018 will be ending soon by March 2018 but until now the PBB for 2016 has not yet been given to public school teachers,” Castro noted.

Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) members yesterday staged a protest action in front of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to demand for a salary increase for all teachers in the country. President Duterte recently promised to double the monthly pay of public school teachers, but DBM said the government cannot just implement such for there is a Salary Standardization Law.(Ali Vicoy|Manila Bulletin)

Members of Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) protesting (Ali Vicoy|Manila Bulletin file photo)

“As the head of the department, DepEd Secretary Briones should oversee and ensure that the process is speedy and address the causes of the delay. However, DepEd has failed to give timely update why the PBB 2016 is still unreleased,” the Makabayan lawmaker said.

Castro said they continue to receive numerous inquiries and complaints about the release of the PBB from public school teachers nationwide.

“This continuing delay exposes the callousness of the DepEd and inutility of the Department of Budget and Management to ensure the prompt release of the bonus which the DBM brags to be an efficient tool in improving government service.”

The militant lawmaker said they already filed House Resolution (HR) No. 1607 asking for an urgent inquiry on the matter, “to make DBM (Department of Budget and Management) and DepEd officials explain the causes of delay and are held accountable.”

However, Castro doesn’t appear to be fully behind the notion of a PBB herself. She points out that PBB system “rewards” employees according to who performs “good,” “better,” and “best.”

The solon reminded DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno and the public that the PBB has long been scored as divisive, deceptive, and discriminatory, as it creates an atmosphere of competition among employees instead of harmonious cooperation toward providing quality public service to the people.

“The PBB scheme is especially unfair to public school teachers since the criteria used to measure their performance involves factors beyond their control such as the liquidation and expenditure of the schools’ budgets for maintenance and other operating expenses,” Castro said.

“Instead of giving higher pay or equal bonuses for all government employees for the augmentation of their meager salaries, the government chooses to maintain PBB, a neoliberal policy brought about by the austerity measures imposed on the country by international financial organizations. This is in line with the policies preventing the increase of the salaries of government workers and removing their benefits like the ban on the use of local government funds for local allowances.”

Her views notwithstanding, Castro demanded that DBM and DepEd immediately release PBB 2016. “We call on all concerned teachers to stage protests, organize trooping of offices to pressure DepEd’s immediate compliance. In the long run, we are fighting for the abolition of PBB and for the establishment of a more equitable system of additional compensation.”

“Ultimately, we remain adamant in pushing for substantial salary increase as the real and primary answer to the needs of teachers and government employees,” the solon concluded.

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