MANILA – A party-list lawmaker on Friday called on the government to release the mid-year bonus to its 1.6 million workers by next week amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis.
Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor made the call following the Department of Budget and Management’s announcement that funds for the incentive are already available.
“If the government is appealing to private employers to pay the 13th-month salary of their employees in advance to tide them over the enhanced community quarantine, the public sector should do the same,” Defensor said.
He said private employers would be encouraged to heed the President’s appeal if the bureaucracy grants public employees the midyear bonus, which is equivalent to one-month salary, earlier than scheduled.
Under the National Budget Circular No. 579 issued by DBM Secretary Wendel Avisado last Jan. 24, the midyear incentive is “to be given not earlier than May 15 of every year.”
Defensor argued that the government loses nothing by advancing the payment next weekend or on April 15, noting that the employees will have more money for subsistence during this public health emergency.
He also noted that frontline personnel like healthcare workers need additional funds since they are required to continue working and attending to Covid-19 patients.
Last week, the DBM said it released the corresponding notices of cash allocation (NCAs) for the second-quarter operating requirements of all national government agencies (NGAs).
In a statement, the DBM said the release of the NCAs ensures unhampered operation of the national government in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the continuous provision of compensation to all government officials, employees and those engaged under a contract of services (COS), job orders (JOs), and other similar schemes.
“The said NCAs are ready for crediting to the respective MDS (modified disbursement system) accounts of agencies on the first working day of April 2020,” it said.
The DBM said also included in the NCAs released are funds to cover the clothing allowance, as well as the mid-year bonus (MYB) authorized under Republic Act No. 11466, or the Salary Standardization Law 5, which shall be released not earlier than 15 May 2020 as provided for by law. (PNA)