By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
THE delay in the release of salaries for job hires has been a consistent problem at the Iloilo City Hall.
In February 2019, the city government streamlined the processing of the job order workers’ salaries by reducing the number of signatories on the disbursement papers.
The signatures of the City Budget Office, City Treasures Office, and the City Administrators Office were removed from the process to avoid delays.
On Tuesday night, City Treasurer Jinny Hermano claimed in a radio interview that his life was threatened by a job hire whose salary was delayed.
According to Hermano, seven job hires from Task Force on Moral Values visited his office Tuesday afternoon to inquire about their delayed payroll.
“Nag-inquire sila sang ila payroll, ginhambal ko nga ginbalik ko ang ila payroll sa ila office bangod ang stand sang aton office indi ako magbayad bangod sobra sila sa allotted job hires sa ila office. Nag-suggest kami nga buhinan from 24 to 22,” he said.
Hermano added that one particular job hire whom he claimed issued threats at him, wasn’t able to understand his explanation.
“Siguro wala niya gina-take as correct akon explanation. Siling niya, ‘ako surrenderee and may grupo ko nga mga drug surrenderers nga kaya mangtumba’,” Hermano said.
At first, he did not take it seriously but when he arrived home, Hermano said his family and friends suggested that he take appropriate actions since his life is already at risk.
“Pag-abot sa balay, nag-suggest ang friends and family nga I should take it seriously and magpa-blotter ko,” he added.
The job hire tagged in the issue, Roy Acapulco, denied Hermano’s allegations.
In an interview, Acapulco clarified that he never intended to threaten Hermano’s life saying they were only asking for advise and explanation from the city treasurer to solve their delayed payrolls.
“Wala gid ko nagpahog sa iya. Mangayo lang kami tani advise sa iya kon ano ang maayo nga mahimo namon kag gapakitluoy kami nga masolusyonan amon problema kay almost two months na kami wala sweldo so nagkadto kami didto,” he explained.
An emotional Acapulco said he never told the city treasurer that he was a drug surrenderee and that he has connections with other drug surrenderees who are willing to hurt anyone.
“Regarding sa threat sa iya, ang akon ginahambal kag ginawakal is kadako ka problema sang tokhang and surrenderers, nahatagan solusyon. What about sa amon problema bilang casuals sa siyudad nga na-delay two months amon sweldo, amo lang gid na,” he said.
Acapulco, who has a two-month-old baby, appealed that they only wanted a just explanation on why their salaries were delayed for two months.
“Amo lang na tani amon pangayo. Ano ipakaon namon sa amon pamilya. Ang akon lang ya, sir excuse me naintindihan mo man kami kaagi man kami pigado. Hatagi bi kami sang rason para masolbar amon problema,” he said.
The job hire also said he is willing to undergo drug tests to prove his statements.
In his defense, Hermano said he refused to pay the budget for the job hires since each office has an allocated number of job hires.
Under the reenacted budget, Hermano said that once the number of job hires exceeds the allotted number for each office, the appropriations might not be enough.
“Kon maubos ang pundo, depende sa kadamuon sang job hires, maubos ang appropriations ta kag indi ta ka supplemental budget kay reenacted. We are advocating here proper management of funds,” he stressed.
Recently, Hermano also claimed that the 2019 annual budget for the city is short by P74 million, based on the projected income certified by the Local Finance Committee.
“Since the budget for last year’s maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) is only equivalent for 11 months and we cannot propose a supplemental budget, we are deficit by P74 million,” he said.
Hermano also recommended a monthly cash disbursement program for each of the offices in the City Hall from January to December 2019.
“This is to enable the Local Treasurer to come up with a cash flow analysis as basis for adjusting the cash program and the financial and physical targets of the City and avoid cash overdraft should the collections not meet the projected deficit,” Hermano said in a letter addressed to the department heads.
On Dec 27, 2019, Espinosa signed the P2.318-billion annual budget for 2019 but with partial vetoes, particularly the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) allocation to the City Mayor’s Office.
The Sangguniang Panlungsod failed to override Espinosa’s veto on Jan. 8, 2019.
A day after, Espinosa directed the City Budget Officer to prepare all Allotment Release Orders (AROs) on the basis of the 2019 Annual Budget except for the vetoed items where the AROs should be based on the 2018 Annual Budget through Memorandum Order No. 6 series of 2019.