PCSO to look into employee bonuses, insists they're not excessive
MANILA - The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) will look into the Commission on Audit's (COA) findings on the bonuses and allowances it gave it employees in 2011, but insists that they were not excessive and irregular.
PCSO General Manager Ferdinand Rojas said the agency will consult employees on the matter and form a committee that will study COA's recommendation to stop the granting of the P303 million in bonuses and various allowances.
"Susuriin namin nang mabuti kung ano ang talagang nararapat gawin," Rojas told ABS-CBN News on Tuesday, adding that the PCSO has 6 months beginning November last year to make an appeal before the COA.
So far, the agency is not inclined to stop the granting of bonuses, despite COA's comment that they are excessive and done without proper authority.
"Kung talagang kinakailangang ipagpatuloy dahil tama o legal kami, itutuloy namin," Rojas said.
Rojas said PCSO has been granting bonuses and allowances to its employees since the administration of former President Fidel Ramos. The amount increased recently because of the salary standardization law.
Employees' bonuses and allowances were also approved in the collective negotiating agreement (CNA) between the PCSO management and the Sweepstakes Employees Union (SEU), he added.
"This is really part of the CNA. We are just complying with the agreement. This is part of a union undertaking, which the management supports," Rojas said.
In a statement, PCSO chair Margarito Juico said they comply with the law on government workers' salaries and benefits.
"Aside from seeking the necessary approval from the Palace, the present board has not granted new benefits nor increased any and is strict in complying with executive issuances and audit laws," she said.
Christopher Bautista, president of the employees' union, also denied the bonuses they received in 2011 were excessive.
"We did not ask for more than what is due us," he said.
Bautista pointed out that most of the allowances were not given in one go but were spread throughout the year.
A bulk of the amount, meanwhile, does not go directly to the employees but is deposited to their provident or retirement fund.
Bautista also said they can ask for medical aid through the PCSO's charity fund. In its report, the COA asserted that this should be charged to the agency's operating fund.
"Bakit ipagbabawal sa mga nagtratrabaho dito na humingi rin kami ng tulong 'pag kami ay nagkasakit?" Bautista said.
According to Juico, PCSO employees are "subject to the same documentary requirements and processes required from individuals seeking PCSO's assistance."