April 2, 2023

The Local Finance Committee (LFC) turned down the city council’s proposal for the city government to allot funds as hazard pay for frontline workers in the barangays.

In the April 6 session of the city council, City Budget Officer Leticia Clemente said the council’s proposal has no legal basis.

“The guidelines are not clear whether the city can provide assistance to the barangays for the provision of hazard pay,” Clemente said.

Clemente said the city cannot use its savings from personal services (PS) for the proposed hazard pay because of the 45 percent limitation imposed by the Local Government Code.

She said the PS savings will be used to grant the daily hazard pay of regular employees, casual employees, and job order workers of the city government who are required to go to work during the quarantine pursuant to Department of Budget and Management Circular 2020-1.

City Accountant Antonio Tabin added MC 2020-1 does not specify hazard pay for elected barangay officials; however, the barangay secretary and barangay treasurer may receive the same.

Tabin said the proposed hazard pay for barangay frontline workers cannot be sourced out from the P150 million supplemental budget of the city government as it has been allotted for various Covid-19 prevention measures and for the city’s ongoing relief operations.

He said the Quick Response Fund also cannot be used as hazard pay for barangay frontline workers for this has been reserved for the rainy season.

The city council earlier passed a resolution requesting the LFC to source out funds for the hazard pay of barangay frontliners and tasked the latter to prepare the guidelines that will determine and standardize the amount to be granted as hazard pay to each barangay official/worker.

Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda advised the LFC to check if the city’s savings from the maintenance and other operating expenses can be used as hazard pay.

“Take a second look at all these issuances by the national government so that we will all be clarified as to whether elective barangay officials are entitled to receive hazard pay or not and where exactly can we get funds for this,” Tabanda said.

Councilor Michael Lawana, president of the Liga ng mga Barangay, sought help from Congress through Rep. Marquez Go who was also present during the council session.

Lawana requested Go to address the lack of financial compensation granted to barangay officials/workers who are burdened by numerous tasks in the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in their respective barangays.

Go concurred that barangay frontline workers should be given financial aid. He said he will raise the matter to the Social Amelioration Program’s Congressional Oversight Committee. – Jordan G. Habbiling