CEBU, Philippines - More than P20 million in salaries and benefits of hundreds of employees of the Cebu Provincial Capitol have been put on hold due to the political crisis in the local government.
Some 417 contractual employees of the Capitol and 16 other government hospitals in the province have not received until today their long overdue 13th month pay.
Salaries from September to December of last year were also left unpaid by the provincial government to its outsourcing companies due to the political crisis that has hounded Cebu since December 19.
Best Source Professionals Incorporated (BSPI) area coordinator Cesar De Guzman estimates that the total payables to them by the local government amount to about P20 million.
BSPI is one of the two outsourcing company of the provincial capitol that provide manpower services such as clerical, janitorial, messengerial, and medical-related human resources. Some employees have already threatened to file legal complaints at the Department of Labor and Employment if benefits will not be given by the end of January.
Rica Marie Lanojan, a clerk at the provincial capitol, said she is upset over the failure of the provincial government to pay her. She said her family spent Christmas with a very meager budget.
Marilyn Irag, also a government employee who has yet to receive last year's benefits, said she was dependent last holiday season on the resources of her sister who works abroad.
Both Rica and Marilyn are hoping that the political crisis would end soon so they can get the benefits due them. But despite getting unpaid, employees have no recourse but to work on a daily basis in the hope that sooner, they will get what they have earned.
Acting Cebu Governor Agnes Magpale, meanwhile, assured employees that they will get paid. She said her office is just undergoing procedural reviews of all contracts under the suspended Governor Gwen Garcia administration, but will soon release funds to legitimate contractors.
She said they are planning to give the salaries and benefits on a staggered basis since there is only a little money left in the government's coffers. Magpale previously reported that the provincial capitol has a total payable amount of about P200 million.
Gov. Garcia has repeatedly denied that Cebu government is bankrupt as allegedly being projected by her political foes in the Liberal Party. She has said that the local government has enough money to pay all of its financial obligations, and it is not true that there are more expenses than savings in the bank accounts of Cebu province.