Teachers question basis for determining, taxing incentives

Main story: Stop implementation of ‘divisive’ incentive system – public school teachers

“An increase is what we need Pnoy [President Aquino] and not the PBB, which is not being distributed fairly. Although we received a higher PBB than other schools, but it’s sad to note…all teachers in our district work hard for the sake of our children but they are rewarded unequally.”

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – The Department of Education announced that teachers would receive their Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) a week after President Benigno S. Aquino III delivered his State of the Nation Address last July 22. However, according to reports reaching the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, not all teachers have received their bonuses.

In its Facebook account, ACT asked teachers who among them have received their bonuses and these were the teachers’ responses:

Normel Gajonera Gomonit said, “We have not received anything yet…maybe next week…why do teachers in elementary school receive higher PBB when almost all have the same performance…”

"Teachers work even in difficult circumstances," teachers lament. (Photo courtesy of Alliance of Concerned Teachers/ Bulatlat.com)
“Teachers work even in difficult circumstances,” teachers lament. (Photo courtesy of Alliance of Concerned Teachers/ Bulatlat.com)

Roger Jake Asturias Ledesma said, “We have not yet received anything here in Palawan…Nganganga naman tayo nito!!! We are asking for salary adjustments and not PBB!!!”

Eddelon Cahilig Bereber said, “Nothing. Then they will tax the PBB…nagbonus ka pa. This is unfair. Does the liquidation of MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenses) have anything to do with my performance? Is it the teachers’ fault that the MOOE has not yet been liquidated? Is the national achievement test the only basis to prove that the school and the teachers are performing? Sige nga?”

JoizyGirl Dulce, said, “We have not received anything yet here in Bataan…then there’s the 20 percent cut for tax…and then we were told that a teacher should at least be permanent by September 2012. How about the contractual teachers who have been teaching for 10 years?”

Susan Bonifacio said, “Nothing. What is the basis why some have received bigger bonuses while some only received a measly bonus. That’s unfair…”

Ma. Annabelle Orano said, “An increase is what we need Pnoy and not the PBB, which is not being distributed fairly. Although we received a higher PBB than other schools, but it’s sad to note…all teachers in our district work hard for the sake of our children but they are rewarded unequally.”

Jo Jacob Jane said, “Kailan pa nauso ang tax sa bonus? P5,000 na lang may tax pa, performing school kami and yet P5,000 lang…tsk! Unfair!”

Rossini Nazar Magsakay said, “15 percent tax? Is that reasonable? 10 percent tax for principal, heads and non-teaching staff and then 15 percent tax for teachers…bonus na may tax? Please explain this. What’s worse is that it looks like teachers are the only ones (whose bonuses are taxed) and the police have no tax (in their bonuses)?”

The tax that was slashed from their bonuses angered teachers. According to ACT, bonuses are not subject to taxation. “This clearly reflects the insensitivity of the Aquino administration to the plight of teachers, while at the same time confirming that basic social services like education are not among his priorities,” Benjie Valbuena, chairman of ACT said in a statement.

Legislative staff of the office of Rep. Antonio Tinio of the ACT Teachers Party, particularly lawyer Maneeka Asistol Sarza said that the PBB like any other bonus, allowance or incentive should be received by employees without any deduction. “The total bonus is non-taxable up to P30,000 ($697) every year, but the computation for the deduction for the tax only happens every April, for the payment of income tax and not immediately during the release of the bonus. The rate should also depend on the total income of the employees and not a fixed rate of 20 percent.”

She added, “The implementing rules of the PBB does not indicate that it is taxable. The minimum bonus of P5,000 ($116) should be completely received by employees. You can ask your Accounting or Personnel Department about the deductions. The ACT Teachers Party-list and ACT are demanding for an official explanation from the DepEd regarding the deductions from the PBB.

However, Sarza clarified that ACT is still calling for the scrapping of the PBB. “This scheme is divisive and discriminatory among teachers and non-teaching personnel. We call on the government to give back the P10,000 ($232) Performance Enhancement Incentive that the government replaced with the PBB.” ()

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