Gara cites technicalities in barred CNA incentive PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 11:18

City Budget Officer Virginia San Agustin Gara yesterday broke her silence on the much talked-about Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) Incentive for 2013 of city government officials and employees, which she disallowed due to certain technicalities.

Gara told a news conference that the Zamboanga City Government Employees Association (ZCGEA) presented the CNA for her signature only on Dec. 27, 2013.

She said she refused to sign the agreement because of some deficiencies as it did not follow the proper steps and procedures such as a dialogue between the Association and the Management, in this case the city government.

According to her, the agreement was railroaded because it came about even without the mandated dialogue or negotiation between the ZCGEA and the city government, precisely it is called “collective negotiation agreement.”

Gara further explained that Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Budget Circular No. 2013-4, which authorizes the grant of CNA incentive, states among others that “It shall not be given upon signing and ratification of the (CN) agreement, otherwise the CNA incentive shall be become a CNA Signing Bonus, which the Supreme Court has ruled against for not being a truly reasonable compensation (SSS vs COA, 384 SCRA 548, July 11, 2002).

“The accusation that the circular was kept inside the drawer is not true and is malicious,” Gara said, explaining that her senior staff downloaded the circular from DBM website only on Nov. 27, 2013 after the ZCGEA officer-in-charge president broached the plan to negotiate with the Management.

“So we waited for the call or invitation to a dialogue but it did not take place. Instead, they presented an agreement for my signature and even demanded verbally for the payment of CNA incentive. This contradicts Sec. 4.4.3 of the DBM circular,” Gara lamented.

She pointed out that the ZCGEA must initiate and propose the (CN) agreement to the Management at the early part of the year, and the said agreement is subject yet to registration with the Civil Service Commission within 90 days from its execution. “If it merits approval, CSC issues a Certificate of Registration.”

The city budget officer cited a legal opinion on the issue, stating that the CNA signed by the parties does not automatically grant monetary benefits to the ZCGEA members, nor does it automatically impose any monetary obligation on the city government of Zamboanga.

Nevertheless, Gara said documentary requirements have already been requested from ZCGEA during a meeting last Jan. 17, to no avail.

Documentary requirements include a resolution on Internal Rules, guidelines, criteria for granting the CNA incentive; identified specific account/item of pinpointed savings as its cost-cutting measures and systems improvement; copy of authenticated CNA; certification as to the total amount of unencumbered savings generated from cost-cutting measures identified in the CNA, and; certificate of CNA Registration from the CSC.

Compliance with those requirements, Gara emphasized, would allow the city to prepare the Supplemental Budget by reverting the unencumbered savings and re-appropriate it to account “Collective Negotiation Agreement Incentive- Civilian” subject to Personal Services (PS) limitations.

“It is very disgusting for city officials and employees to keep on slandering at my expense just to grant the CNA incentive for 2013 even without complying the requirements,” Gara bewailed and urged her critics to spare her family as it has nothing to do with the issue.

“We hope you will realize before talking that there are technicalities to comply in the incentive you are clamoring for and we cannot just  pay as you wish, and please be informed that the (CN) agreement was perfected only last Feb. 11,” she further clarified. “We are governed by laws in granting benefits and as civil servants, government officials and employees are mandated to conform to such rulings.” — Vic Larato