Isabela council wants names of unpaid JOs

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The Sangguniang Bayan of Isabela in Negros Occidental is asking Mayor Irene Montilla to submit the names of the 447 job order (JO) employees, who have yet to receive their salaries since Oct. 15 this year, prior to its approval of Supplemental Budget No. 3, being asked by the executive department.

The town council has not acted on the request of the mayor to approve the supplemental budget, which contained appropriations for the salaries of 447 JO workers, pending the submission of the names of the affected employees.

In a letter addressed to Montilla, lawyer Jose Max Ortiz, counsel for Isabela Councilor Francis Malabor and other Sangguniang Bayan members, said that his clients are simply asking a legitimate concern.

The request from the SB includes the complete list of JO workers, their respective rates, and the number of days required to render duty from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31 this year.

Ortiz said this is going to be used as basis for the computation of their total wages and of how much the council should approve.

Vice Mayor Renato Malabor Jr. and his allies in the SB also wanted to know the total disbursement for JOs in 2020.

Montilla earlier blamed the SB, with Malabor as the presiding officer who is running against her for the mayoral post, for the delay in releasing the wages of JOs for more than a month now, after they failed to act on her request to approve the budget.

Under Section 277 of the Local Government Code, Ortiz said that the hiring of a job order worker must not exceed six months.

“With the list and details thereof, our clients would know the limitation of the supplemental budget,” he said.

He clarified that his clients are not questioning the authority of Montilla to hire JO, especially for approved local projects.

Montilla said the non-passage of the supplemental budget is beyond her control as she has already requested the SB to approve it. — GB