Teacher Myrna lined up at the Labangon Elementary School as early as 6:30 a.m. yesterday, eager to receive the P10,000 cash assistance promised by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
It was already 5 p.m. when staff from the City Treasurer’s Office arrived to start distribution.
In Zapatera Elementary School where teachers assigned in public schools in the city’s north district, it was 6 p.m. when the cash was handed out.
Teachers assigned in the north district got their bonus in Labangon, where distribution started at 5 p.m.
Over 2,000 teachers waited in line for the bonus, a total of P50 million for 5,000 public school teachers in the city.
Like hundreds of her fellow teachers, Myrna was disappointed with the delay.
“Grabe ang among pag huwat pero wala koy mahimo kay gamitonon sad nako ang kwarta. Maayo na lang ni para sa bag-ong tuig,” she said.
(We had to endure the long wait. We had no choice because we also need the money for the new year.)
Mayor Rama who visited both schools, said he would have the delay investigated.
He said there were “extra hands” of some people who wanted to jeopardize programs of his administration.
City Treasurer Emma Villarete signed the P50 million Land Bank check yesterday morning but the government bank didn’t immediately encash it, possibly due to the processing time needed to produce the large volume of smaller bills for cash distribution.
The city government has been giving P5,000 as a Christmas incentive to the city’s public school teachers.
Mayor Rama increased the amount to P10,000 this year.
Officials are waiting for word from the Department of Education (DepEd) about the use of unspent funds from the Special Education Fund (SEF) administered by the Local School Board for the bonus.
Councilor Jose Daluz III, head of the Local School Board, said the SEF was available as a source but authority has to be secured from DepEd. On Thursday, Daluz said the DepEd approved of the bonus.
After more than 10 hours of waiting , teacher Myrna, a mother of three, was finally relieved.
“Nawala ra akong kakapoy ug huwat kay naa na gyud akong kwarta. Naa na mi magamit sa bag ong tuig.”
(I forgot about my fatigue and the long wait because I finally got the money. We have something to spend for the new year.)
Rhea Mar Angtud, city schools division superintendent, said that while the delay in cash distribution was inconvenient, she was not complaining.
“It is the city government that did the processing… Our role was just to identifie the qualified teachers. We had no choice but to wait,” she said.
Mayor Rama asked teachers to be patient and assured them they would receive their bonus.
“The important thing is that the money is released today even we have to give overtime pay to the City Treasurers Office staff,” he said.
If distribution isn’t completed, Rama said it will resume the next day, Saturday. /Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters with reports from Michelle Joy L. Padayhag