BONTOC, Mountain Province – Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr. described the provincial government’s 2017 annual budget amounting to more than P722 million as employee-friendly because all the pertinent benefits of officials and employees were included in the budget, saying that they will no longer have to entail enormous sacrifices for their increased salaries to be timely released.
The local chief executive said the provincial government had a difficult time incorporating the adjustment of the salaries of locally paid officials and employees and the grant of additional benefits to them such as the one month mid-year bonus and the 13-month compensation of the government workers.
“We extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation to the provincial officials and employees who fully cooperated with the implementation of austerity and belt-tightening measures towards the end of the year so that we will be able to raise the needed amount equivalent to 17 million pesos to cover the compliance of the local government to the alary standardization and the increased benefits of government workers,” Lacwasan stressed.
He explained the implementation of austerity measures and belt-tightening strategies were the only allowable remedies adopted by the provincial government upon consultation with the concerned officials and employees for the province to be able to meet the prescribed increase in salaries and benefits mandated by law, saying that officials and employees had to significantly reduce their frequent travels, attendance to seminars and trainings, among others, that resulted in savings of over P17 million which went to the payment of prescribed salary and benefit increases.
According to him, provincial finance officers under his stewardship made sure that the second round of the implementation of the salary standardization is incorporated in the province’s budget this year to avoid adoption of similar austerity measures that might significantly affect the performance of officials and employees in the implementation of the priority development projects and the delivery of basic services to the people, especially those in remote communities of the province.
Lacwasan admitted the province had a difficult time implementing the first round of the salary standardization because the order from the previous administration came late so the provincial government had to resort to other legal and acceptable ways of generating the resources required to provide for such increase in salaries and benefits, and he is grateful to the government workers in the province for their full cooperation in implementing the austerity measures despite opposition from some concerned individuals.
The governor added provincial officials and employees will no longer have to sacrifice their programmed training, seminars, and travels as allocated in this year’s budget as the second round of the salary standardization is included in the approved budget.
He called on provincial officials and employees to sustain the achievements of the local government in successfully implementing quality development projects and enhanced delivery of basic services.