City councilors: We did not ask for more cell phone allowances

09/12/2010 - SAYING they did not ask for a higher mobile phone allowance, city councilors nevetheless welcomed the increase given by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

Cebu City councilor Jose Daluz III said he only asked that they be allowed to enroll with other service providers to maintain their contact with barangay captains who use different mobile networks.

Daluz said in their previous meetings, the city councilors agreed to ask the City administrator that they be allowed to register more than one mobile number with the accounting office as long as their bills would not go beyond their allowable allowance.

In late August, Daluz wrote City administrator Jose Marei Poblete if their other mobile phone numbers could be registered and counted for the mobile allowance.

“Dapat, naay Sun, Smart and Globe, because it would be cheaper, especially if the person whom we are going to contact has the same networks as we have,” Daluz said. “It is a very good move that we are now allowed to have three numbers,” he added.

Under the E. O. No. 10-121 signed by Rama, city councilors and department heads are allowed a maximum of three different postpaid phone lines provided the total amount of the bill will not exceed the allowed allowance and, provided all the cell numbers are registered with the accounting office.

If they exceed the allowable limit, they would have to personally pay for the excess amount.

During the term of now Rep. Tomas Osmena, city councilors received P3,500 in load allowance.

The EO increases the communication allowances of 18 councilors by P1,500.

Department heads will get P500 more in mobile phone allowances, but some will get less. Communication privileges of other employees would be recalled. If they want the benefit back, they would have to justify it.

The EO also recalled the load allowances given to some City Hall employees unless they make a formal request through their direct supervisors that such a benefit be reinstated.

Poblete said they needed to recall other load allowances to other employees who were reshuffled after the new administration took over.

Poblete said that based on his initial computations, the city could save at least P50,000 monthly.

The city previously spent about P370,000 a month for load allowances, but with the new E. O, this would decline to about P320,000.

Under the old system, the mayor, vice mayor and city administrator can avail of “unlimited” communication allowance while 18 councilors get P4,000 to P6 000 and department heads, from P3,000 to P3, 5000 each.

Employees get P100 to P1, 000 as load allowance.

With the EO, Rama, Young and Poblete will still enjoy “unlimited” communication privileges while councilors will be entitled to at least P5,500 each.

Department heads, assistant department heads and division chiefs will get P2,500 to P5,000 while qualified employees will get load allowances ranging from P300 to P1,000.

Said allowance may be increased only if the official is handling multiple functions such as membership of more than two commissions or board chairmanships. But the increase would be limited to P1,000 unless approved by Rama and Poblete. (Inquirer)

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