UP Centennial Bonus Released; Union Fights for Other Benefits


As the administration of University of the Philippines, the state’s premier university, spends millions of pesos for centennial celebrations, its faculty members and non-teaching employees need to assert their economic rights before getting the benefits they deserve.

BY KATRINA MACAPAGAL
Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 21, June 29-July 5, 2008

On June 18, President Emerlinda Roman announced the approval of a P20,000 centennial bonus for University of the Philippines (UP) employees. It was released June 26.

According to memorandum number AAS-08-30 signed by UP Vice President for administration Arlene Samaniego, all UP officials, faculty, and employees who have been in service for at least one year shall receive the centennial bonus.

Employees of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), however, shall only receive P17,000. According to Roman, the P3,000 bonus that PGH employees received on August 2007 is already part of the centennial bonus.

The source of funding for the bonus is not included in the P150 million UP centennial fund. The memorandum reads that the centennial bonus is “chargeable against UP’s income and subject to pertinent budgetary accounting and auditing rules and regulations…” (see sidebar)

Small victory

The All UP Workers Union (AUPWU) has been pushing for the centennial bonus since the formation of the centennial committee fund on February 13, 2007.

According to AUPWU National President Noli Ano-os, although they are happy with the approval of the bonus, the grant differs from the union’s initial demand.

Okey kami na naibigay y’ung bente pero kasi y’ung proposal ay 20,000 plus 1,000 per year of service. Dito medyo marami nagreklamo” (It’s fine with us that the P20,000 was given, but the proposal was P20,000 plus 1,000 per year of service. Many complain about this), Ano-os said. He added that many UP workers have been in service for almost 30 years and deserve to be rewarded for their loyalty now that UP is celebrating its centennial.

For All-UP Academic Union National Vice President for Faculty Prof. Judy Taguiwalo, the amount will only be used to pay for incurred debts of many employees.

Fair demands

The P20,000 bonus is but one of the demands that the AUPWU has raised in their talks with the UP administration in coming months before the centennial celebration.

UP workers have also asked for rice subsidy, equal distribution of the budget for merit promotion, and extended sick leaves for UP workers. At present, only the centennial bonus and the rice subsidy have been approved.

Regarding the issue of the budget for merit promotion, Anoos explains: “Nag-allocate y’ung admin ng P20 million for merit promotion. P16 million paghahatian ng 4,000 na faculty. P4 milyon paghahatian ng halos 8,000 pang employees” (The admin allocated P20 million for merit promotion. P16 million of that will be divided among 4,000 faculty employees. P4 million will be divided among 8,000 more employees.) Ano-os argues that this is discriminatory against non-faculty UP workers.

Ano-os further argues that the same discrimination against non-faculty UP workers is evident in the demand for extended sick leaves. The UP administration has granted additional 10 days sick leave only for faculty members.

Kung mag-isip sila ng gan’ung biyaya, ipagkaloob ito sa lahat” (Having thought of giving such benefit, they should give it to all employees), Anoos said.

According to Prof. Michael Andrada, National Treasurer of the All UP Academic Employees Union, UP faculty members are united with all UP workers in their demand for fair benefits.

Sa di patas na hatian ng budget para sa merit promotion at sa isyu ng extended sick leave, malinaw ang diskriminasyon ng administrayong Roman laban sa kawani at REPS [research, extension, and professional staff]. Kaming mga guro, bagamat tila pinapaboran sa dalawang isyung ito, ay di pabor sa diskriminasyong ito at patuloy na magsisikhay para sa pagkakapantay-pantay” (On the issues of inequitable budget allocation for merit promotion and extended sick leave, it is clear that the Roman administration discriminates against non-faculty employees and REPS. We teachers, although seemingly favored on these two issues, are not in favor of this discrimination and will continue to work hard for equal treatment), Andrada asserts.

Challenges

As the UP community continues to celebrate its centennial, Anoos poses a challenge to the UP administration. “Hamon ngayong sentenyal na sana yung administrasyon natin, y’ung kanilang pagharap sa buong UP system ay tanggalin nila yung pagdi-discriminate sa sektor” (On the centennial year, the challenge for our admin is to elimitae discrimination).

In a recent statement, the AUWU also criticizes the efforts of the UP administration to advertise the centennial celebration through various forms of media. “Mas malamang na nakapatungkol ang mga anunsyong ito sa mga korporasyong pribado para mag-invest sa UP at sa mga mayayamang alumni para magbigay ng donasyon sa UP” (It is more likely that these advertisements are aimed at private corporations, seeking to encourage them to invest in UP and to wealth alumni, intending to encourage them to donate to UP), the statement read.

Despite the approved centennial bonus, Andrada poses a challenge to the UP administration and the rest of the UP community: “Ngayong sentenaryo, hamon sa UP administration na paglingkuran ang sambayanan at hindi ang makasarili at komersyal na interes nila. Lalo’t higit, ang hamon ay nasa mga miyembro ng komunidad ng UP upang huwag magpadala sa lohika ng negosyo na ipinapalaganap ng administrasyong Roman” (On the centennial year, the challenge to the UP administration is to serve the people and not their selfish and commercial interests. Above this, the challenge to members of the UP community is to not be carried away by the logic of business which the Roman administration is propagating.)

For Taguiwalo, the challenge ahead is beyond the confines of the university. She said, “Kailangang ang sama-samang pagkilos ng nagbunga ng tagumpay sa pagkakamit ng bonus ay maisanib sa lakas ng mamamayan laban sa pahirap, korap at pasistang rehimeng Arroyo” (The concerted action which resulted in success in getting the centennial bonus should be combined with the people’s showing of force against the anti-people, corrupt and fascist Arroyo regime.)

Sidebar
UP Centennial Budget Breakdown*

Item

Million (P)

Centennial Lectures
Tri Media Projection
Capital Outlay
Centennial Concert
Centennial Notes
Centennial Awards
Centennial Literary Contest
Audio Visual Presentation
History Project
Coffee Table Book
Digital Film Making Contest
Centennial Music Video
Centennial Address Book
Centennial Glass Plates
Centennial Song Contest
Centennial Newsletter
Events Poster
Administrative Expense
Honoraria (1.5 million)
Centennial Commission
Operations (1 million)
Travel ( 2.5 million)

Contingencies

P 13
12
85
5
5
2

2
2
1.4
1.5
.7
.7
.5
.5
.4
.3
.15
5




10

Total

P147.15 million

*Approved by the UP Board of Regents on September 28, 2007, at UP Los Banos.

Source: Statement of All UP Workers Union at All UP Academic Employees Union released on June 16, 2008.

Bulatlat

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