December 28, 2010
While we join the entire nation in celebrating the success of the first automated national elections in Philippine history this year; we, the rank and file employees of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) under the Alliance of COMELEC Employees in Service (ACES), can not help but express our deep concern over the COMELEC’s state of finances for this year, 2010.
Recent statements from COMELEC higher-ups reveal a seemingly healthy financial situation. COMELEC Law Department Director and Bids and Awards Committee Chairman Ferdinand Rafanan has declared recently that the COMELEC was able to save a whopping P943 Million from the recent bidding processes. He even boasted that the COMELEC has enough savings to provide a monthly bonus of P20, 000 to each COMELEC employee nationwide for a period of nine (9) months! [See attached Rafanan’s statement]
Rafanan’s pronouncement was further reinforced when the majority of COMELEC Commissioners agreed (by affixing their signatures to the Petition circulated by the ACES addressed to the COMELEC en banc on December 20, 2010) to provide a CHRISTMAS INCENTIVE to COMELEC employees who labored hard to ensure the success of the May 10, 2010 Automated Elections and the October 25, 2010 Barangay and SK elections.
But despite the millions, if not billions of savings accumulated; COMELEC employees NEVER received any Christmas Incentive from the COMELEC for two (2) consecutive years already! For this year, we were only provided with Anniversary Bonus (equivalent to one month salary but not less than P10,000) and Rice Subsidy (P2,000). [Note that these incentives are traditionally given to us employees and that only the Directors and Commissioners benefit from them because of their high salaries!] The COMELEC only added another P3,000 to the P7,000 Bonus allocated by the Department of Budget Management (DBM) to government workers last December 15, 2010.
The absence of Christmas Incentive for two (2) consecutive years and other surprising developments, such as Chairman Jose Melo’s early retirement (effective January 31, 2011) and Finance Department Director Eduardo Mejos’ reported resignation (effective December 31, 2010); leads us, all employees, to WORRY AS TO THE FINANCIAL STATUS OF THE COMELEC.
We must take into account that the COMELEC was allotted P11.3 billion supplementary budget for the May 10 Automated National and Local Elections and another P3.2 billion for the October 25 Barangay and SK elections.
Also, we must bear in mind that government employees who contributed either in productivity or cost savings of the agency are entitled to financial incentives, in whatever form. According to Public Sector Labor Management Council (PSLMC) Resolutions, 80% of savings generated by the agency from the adoption and implementation of cost-cutting measures can be the source of these incentives.
Lastly, we APPEAL TO CHAIRMAN MElO AND COMMISSIONERS THAT The benefits and privileges TRADITIONALLY GIVEN TO COMELEC employees FOR CHRISTMAS FROM CONSTITUTIONAL FISCAL AUTONOMY GROUP (CFAG) SAVINGS BE GIVEN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. – end-