Mandaluyong, Manila gov't employees to get early 13th-month, midyear pay during community quarantine

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Employees of Mandaluyong City Hall will be receiving their 13th-month pay, which is usually given in December, during work suspensions in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 17) — Employees of the local governments of Mandaluyong and Manila will be receiving financial bonuses, usually given later in the year, during work suspensions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mandaluyong Mayor Menchie Abalos ordered the release of the 13th-month pay of its city hall workers, its public information office said on Twitter, Tuesday. However, it did not state when exactly the workers will get the bonus. The city has been under a state of calamity since Sunday, which triggered the release of funds to help residents cope with the COVID-19 crisis.

The 13th-month pay is equivalent to one-twelfth of an employee's basic salary within a calendar year, according to the Labor Department. Companies and agencies usually give the 13th-month pay in December.

On the other hand, Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso said he has crafted a resolution to release the midyear bonus of his staff. He said they also prepared an ordinance to earmark funds to compensate contractual workers. The midyear pay is equivalent to one month's worth basic salary to be given not earlier than May 15.

Moreno said this was an answer to the President's call to make provisions for employees to cope with the pandemic, including releasing their 13th month pay or at least half of their monthly salary.

"Hearing that, your city government immediately came up with a resolution authorizing the mayor to release the midyear bonus of our employees then we came up with another ordinance appropriating x number of millions for our [Job Order workers] and contractuals," he told CNN Philippines' Just the Facts.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday placed the entire Luzon mainland under an "enhanced community quarantine" following the rise of COVID-19 cases in the country. The new quarantine measure means stringent travel restrictions, no mass transportation and suspension of work except for health workers, skeletal forces in business outsourcing companies and export-oriented industries, accredited media workers, employees of supermarkets, banks and other establishments that provide basic commodities. The quarantine aims to restrict movement across Luzon to avoid the continuous spread of the virus.

"Maybe you can consider paying the 13th month pay or just paying them maski kalahati sa sweldo nila kung walang trabaho [half of their salary if they have no work] as a way of showing your solidarity with the Filipinos at this critical time," Duterte told companies in an address to the nation.

Work-from-home arrangements from the private sector were also encouraged.

The Labor Department said it has also set aside P2-billion-worth of financial assistance to workers displaced by travel restrictions to and from Metro Manila which has also been imposed in other provinces, towns and cities such as Cebu, Aklan and Aurora provinces.

The Health Department tallied 142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, including 12 deaths. It has also reported the first recovered case involving a Filipino. Earlier, two Chinese nationals who initially tested positive while in the Philippines, also recovered from the disease and have since returned to China.