By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Around 3,000 employees of the provincial government of Negros Occidental will not be able to avail of the extra bonuses this year.
Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson explained the bonus will only be up to 14th month bonus, and other than extra, there will be none.
Lacson blamed the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason behind the non-release of additional bonuses, pointing out they “really spend a lot also for COVID.”
Last year, the provincial government employees received an additional bonus of P60,000, aside from the 13th and 14th months benefits, respectively, usually released in May and November of every year.
This year’s planned Capitol Christmas party at the SMX Convention Center in Bacolod City was also reportedly cancelled due to the pandemic.
However, Lacson said he will allow various departments to hold their respective parties, provided they all strictly observe the mandated health protocols, such as physical distancing, wearing of masks and face shields.
The governor also called on the provincial government workers not to feel sad, pointing out “Christmas is in our hearts” and promised that they will make it up next year.
“I think what is important is that we can celebrate it with our family. I’m sure that there will always be food on the table,” he added.
The Progressive Alliance of Capitol Employees (PACE), meanwhile, released a statement saying they will make an appeal to Lacson to reconsider his decision.
PACE president Renelo Lastierre said “the union will appeal to the governor on behalf of the PGNO employees.”
Lastierre said PACE has ready options and proposals for other benefits for the capitol workers this December.
“The employees are aware of the present effect of the pandemic to the whole country,” Lastierre said.
He further added they are positive that Lacson will not allow a “black Christmas,” adding the governor will always be a pro-worker and they believe he always knows what is good for everyone.
Aside from Lacson, Lastierre also said they will also ask for help from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan headed by Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer./DGB, WDJ