SBMA frontliners get P22.73M hazard pay for ECQ work

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Workers in the frontline and essential services of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) received a total of P22.73 million in hazard pay for physically reporting for work assignments here during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the compensation was released under Administrative Order No. 26 dated March 23, 2020, which granted hazard pay to government employees and contract workers during the public health emergency at the amount of P500 per day per person.

The SBMA board of directors duly approved the release of the hazard pay based on recommendations of the management last August, Eisma added.

“Most of those who received significant amounts are security officers and firefighters, who were on field assignments at a time when most of our departments worked from home,” Eisma pointed out.

“The security officers enforced border controls, while the firefighters disinfected offices, facilities and public places to keep the Subic community safe,” she added.

According to the SBMA Finance Group, a total of 1,739 employees benefited from the release. These included 1,074 employees in plantilla positions, 550 workers engaged through contract of service, 101 personnel under government contracting, and 14 casual hires.

SBMA data indicated that plantilla employees received an average of P13,438 hazard pay, while contract workers got an average of P12,912.

Finance Group head Antonietta Sanqui said that under guidance from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the SBMA computed the hazard pay at P62.50 per hour from the P500 per-day government ceiling and applied this pro-rata to actual number of work hours based on daily time records.

The biggest amount went to two security officers, who each received P61,500. They logged in a total of 984 man-hours each since March 17 when the ECQ came into effect, and until May 31.

On the other hand, the smallest pay amounting to P131.25 went to 16 mostly office workers, who logged in just 2.1 hours at their workplaces during the ECQ.

Prior to the release of hazard pay, the SBMA Accounting Department reviewed the number of hours logged in by each personnel in the ECQ, computed the difference between Covid 19 hazard pay and the magna carta hazard pay received by public health workers, and deducted corresponding withholding taxes.

Under DBM guidelines, government employees such as public health workers and uniformed personnel who are already entitled to hazardous duty pay or hazard allowance may also receive the Covid-19 hazard pay, whichever is higher. (Dante M. Salvana)