MANILA, Philippines — Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor urged President Rodrigo Duterte anew to advance the release of the midyear bonus of around 1.6 million government workers amid the crisis brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“If the government is appealing to private employers to pay the 13th-month salary of their employees in advance to tide them over the enhanced community quarantine, the public sector should do the same,” Defensor said in a statement on Friday.
Defensor pointed out that since the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had already announced that funds for the bonus are already available, the President could consider ordering agencies to release the incentive next weekend.
“If President Duterte authorizes its payment next weekend or on April 15, we are advancing it only by one month. The government loses nothing, but our employees in the bureaucracy will have more money during this public health emergency,” he said.
He noted that under National Budget Circular No. 579 issued by DBM Secretary Wendel Avisado last Jan. 24, the midyear incentive is “to be given not earlier than May 15 of every year.”
With the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, the President has placed the entire Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine to contain the spread of the disease.
To date, Philippine health officials have confirmed 2,633 COVID-19 cases in the country.
Of the number, 107 have so far died while 51 patients have already recovered.
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