Batangas LGU questioned over P33M employee bonuses
by Allan Yves Briones
The municipal government of Sto. Tomas, Batangas was asked by the state auditing agency to explain P32.96 million in monetary incentives which were reportedly authorized without the required documents.
According to the Commission on Audit (COA), while the municipal government’s officials and employees may deserve commendation, it should abide by certain guidelines.
“[T]he manner of giving incentives to employees who contributed to its achievement should be based on existing rules and regulations and supported with complete documentation, otherwise, validity and propriety of such grants become doubtful,” COA stated in the 2018 Annual Audit Report.
In 2018, the municipal government granted monetary incentives totaling P32.96 million to 445 of its officials and employees, as part of a Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE).
Audit records showed that P17.79 million was paid out as 14th month pay incentives, P10.11 million as rice allowance, and an additional P5.06 million for groceries.
State auditors noted, however, several deficiencies with the incentives including the lack of evaluation reports which are supposed to support the release of funds.
“(Civil Service Commission MC No. 01, s. 2001) requires that the PRAISE shall adhere to the principle of providing incentives and awards based on performance, innovative ideas and exemplary behavior,” COA said.
The same memorandum circular also requires that monetary awards be granted “only when the suggestions, inventions, superior accomplishments and other personal efforts results in monetary savings”, not exceeding 20 percent.
However, the municipal government also failed to do so, unable to provide support for the bonuses, only providing a letter from the regional office of the civil service commission stating that Sto. Tomas’ PRAISE is approved for use.
COA ordered Sto. Tomas officials to submit employee evaluation reports or any supporting documents for the PRAISE grants, as well as a report on the savings generated which prompted them.
In the report, state auditors noted the silence of the municipal government in the matter. #
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