By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Despite the ongoing implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Education (DepEd) said it is exerting efforts to ensure that the salaries of its employees for March and April will be released early.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones has already “relayed the direction and instructions” to all regional directors (RDs) on release of salaries and other benefits during a recent teleconference.
DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said DepEd is doing “this as early as now and as long as office and banks are allowed to report to work.” She added that “we want our finance staff/workforce to stay at home too when public health situation worsen and not to let them be exposed to risks and hazards while they do their work and process needed salaries and benefits of workers.”
Sevilla also said the DepEd workforce is “almost a million already” – thus, processing of compensation and benefits takes time.
“We need to proactively process and prepare documents until it reach the banks for remittance to employees accounts,” she said. “We need to take into consideration the urgency of tasks and at the same time follow existing financial policies and guidelines.”
Spend with ‘prudence’ during crisis
Meanwhile, DepEd also enjoined its teaching and non-teaching personnel to practice “prudence” when it comes to spending their salaries and benefits during this time as the threat of COVID-19 continues to escalate.
“DepEd has to take care of the welfare of our employees, with an advice to spend their salaries and benefits with prudence and to prioritize health needs especially at this challenging time,” Sevilla said.
Sevilla noted that based on discussions at their recent management committee meeting, among the urgent priorities of DepEd to date is the release of the March and April salaries of its employees, including those who are regular/plantilla, contract of service (COS) workers, and consultants.
The release of such, Sevilla explained, is “subject to available cash” in the Region Office (RO) or Schools Division Office (SDO). She added that DepEd has already requested the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the “early release of April cash.”
Sevilla also noted that DepEd is also preparing the clothing/uniform allowance (CUA) which is subject to guidelines, as well as other benefits such as the Performance Based Bonus for 2018 and hazard pay if the DBM “will allow or release the funds.”
Earlier, articles stated that salaries and other benefits, particularly the CUA, had been released by DepEd. As a response, Sevilla clarified that the processing of CUA is “being done but the release or remittance of such to the employees shall be done upon clearance with DBM and issuance of guidelines from DepEd.”
“We are still doing inventory now [and] it’s too early to state if there is indeed no release made by other schools – SDOs or ROs,” Sevilla said.