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ROUGH CUTS | The shrinking JO workers’ bonus

Vic N. Sumalinog

THIS is rather a little bit late since it is already two days after Christmas. But we’d like to greet our friends and readers a Very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous, Safe and Year 2022, especially against the still raging CoViD 19 pandemic and the disastrous natural calamities like storms and earthquakes that had been bedeviling us over the past few years.

     Yes, our country and people have been through with the worst of times, But majority of the Filipinos are still up and around. We fought the socio-economic debacle we have been into and somehow we are slowly showing that we have gained grounds against all the odds. We could only attribute this to the tenacity of the Filipinos when ranged against calamities of all kinds.

     Our fight against the global pandemic actually had brought our country’s economy on its knees. And with it people were — and still are — asked to make supreme sacrifices just to be able to weather the deadly health emergency. To us our government has done its best and despite the criticisms of opposition politicians that the government’s action against the spread of the virus is very much wanting, the present figure of the pandemic victims in the country speaks otherwise.

     Unfortunately however, this apparent success is overshadowed by the bugaboos of the forthcoming local and national elections. News about our government’s efforts to tide over the impact of the pandemic are relegated as just simple “aside” in the level of importance of the entirety of the news presentation. Even in our own Davao City only a limited sector of society has placed premium in making the zero CoViD new infection report as its top reading or hearing choice. Instead many have manifested interest in finding out how each candidate, whether local or national, is faring in their survey performance.

     People are now having preference reading, viewing or hearing the activities of Presidential, Vice Presidential and senatorial aspirants in their moving around the country supposedly feeling the people’s pulse but in actuality campaigning for their positions being aspired to. Many are also hooked in the social media, the new platform for fake news and destructive way of campaigning, the new and more far-reaching source of disinformation and intrigues, the venue for painting a person black or white by the hired trolls depending on the interest of the person using the venue to serve his or her own interest.

     No one can even be certain if those who are greeting their friends and acquaintances a Merry Christmas are sincere or are being used by certain vested personal interest to court their political support.

     Nevertheless, it is our take that we should rather stick to the belief that all those who wish us a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year are indeed sincere in their intensions; that the greetings are not laced with greedy desire to drop anchor in their sea of belief that their short Christmas message is not a political ploy to change our preferences.

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     This is indeed sad news for the families of “Job Order” employees of Davao City Hall. They were filled with hopes that like in the past years before the pandemic, the JO local government workers were given at least P25 thousand. There is no doubt that Davao City can afford the expense despite the surge in expenditures because of our response to the CoViD 19 pandemic. We are among the very few local governments which are so blessed financially. In fact we learned that the JO workers of Davao Oriental were given P15 thousand Christmas bonus. And the regular employees received as much as 65 thousand pesos. But we heard over the radio and television news and verbal complaints of this nature from some concerned City Hall workers openly chastising the P10 thousand bonus instead of P25 thousand that they received previously got, an amount far from enough to even reach the first letter M of “Merry” in the Christmas greetings.  

     We are not saying that this claim is an outright truth. Or, we can also believe immediately that the assertion is true. But there must possibly be a legitimate reason for the LGU’s action. First there is still this long and costly battle against the CoViD 19 pandemic. Then towards Christmas day the disastrous Odette sneaked into various places in the country leaving in its wake a massive destruction of the worst kind. Our Davao City is one of the first to assist in the response process.  And towards the end of last week we heard that the national government coffer is fast drying up. And we cannot just be a fence sitter or an Emperor Neru playing his flute while Rome was burning. Davao City needs to help our fellow Filipinos even if it has to scrounge resources just to alleviate the suffering of our neighbors in Mindanao and in the Visayan villages.

     And if this is the reason of the scalping of City Hall’s funds including the one set aside for a P25-Job Order workers’ bonus, then our officials must be honest enough to tell the truth. Otherwise keeping silent by the City Hall gods will make things evolve into gospel truith.

                                                                             

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