DepEd ‘doing its best’ to grant benefits, incentives to personnel

Published January 1, 2021, 3:27 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The Department of Education (DepEd) assured that it is exhausting all means to ensure that its eligible teaching and non-teaching personnel will receive the benefits and incentives coming from the government.
DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla gave updates on the preparation for and processing of the 2020 Service Recognition Incentive (SRI) for eligible permanent positions and the 2020 Gratuity Pay (GP) for the Contract of Service (COS) and Job Order (JOs).
Sevilla assured DepEd’s personnel that the agency is doing its best to ensure that those eligible will be able to receive their incentives and benefits.
“Do not worry because the DepEd, under the leadership of our Secretary Leonor Briones, is doing its best to ensure that our personnel get what they deserve,” Sevilla said in Filipino.
While the concerned offices in DepEd comply with the procedures, Sevilla asked the eligible employees of DepEd to take into consideration other factors that related to the release of the said incentives and benefits.
“What we ask of you is to understand the process and the efforts of your fellow employees who are also working to make sure that the benefits will be granted to you the soonest possible time,”she added.
 Sevilla explained that even if DepEd wanted to immediately process and release the SRI and GP, there are procedures that the agency has to comply with before it can grant the said benefits or incentives.
“Remember that DepEd is the biggest employer in the entire government/bureaucracy and we are almost one million personnel in total now, extensively distributed to various schools, division and regional offices, and the Central Office,” she added.
 Sevilla explained that the Administrative Order (AO) 37 on SRI and AO 38 on GP were officially released on December 21 and 28, respectively while the DBM Budget Circular on SRI was released on December 22.
These AOs and DBM-BC, Sevilla said, were also issued on the official Facebook page of the DepEd-Undersecretary for Finance for dissemination of the “information and for the concerned individuals to comprehend the provisions” of the said AOs.
Sevilla said that SRI and GP are both sourced from the “available savings or balance of funds” of the entire agency. Given this, she noted that DepEd needs a total savings of Php 10 billion to generate for the Php 10,000 SRI for each qualified personnel.
Finance offices from various levels of governance such as school, division, regional and central offices, Sevilla said, are “working very hard to consolidate and identify more funding sources” to reach P10 billion fund balance.
Sevilla explained that DepEd has been coordinating with the DBM since the release of the SRI admin order. “We thank the DBM for its support, coordination and cooperation to find ways for SRI to become a reality for all DepEd employees,” She said.
Currently, Sevilla noted that DepEd will use its remaining balances in the Personnel Services (PS) and also request for realignment or modification of available MOOE funds for SRI.
“Once DBM approves our requests, DepEd can obligate the PS fundings and pay for the uniform SRI amount next year, 2021,” she said. “If the 2020 MOOE fund’s validity is extended until 2021, we can also use those funds for additional SRI until we reach the allowable 10k per employee,” she added.
Given this, Sevilla asked for “patience and understanding” from its personnel while DepEd completes the appropriate steps and processes. “We cannot compare DepEd to smaller agencies which can process and find funds for its smaller number of personnel,” she said. “As DepEd family, we need to comply with the provisions of the AO and collectively accept the intention that we need to uniformly give to all eligible personnel,” she added.
Unlike last year’s SRI when DBM released the funds for the P7,000 and the P3,000 is chargeable to the savings or balance of funds of the department, Sevilla said that the SRI for 2020 of P10,000 is “now chargeable to available balance of the DepEd” – hence, the agency needs time to consolidate all its savings and balances first before it can determine the P10,000 or a proportionate amount can be given to all eligible its employees.
Meanwhile, Sevilla reminded the DepEd personnel to “still be grateful for the unexpected benefits we receive and let us please apply our teachings to our learners which are values on professionalism, responsible social media practice, teamwork and gratitude or compassion for others.”