File photo.

The provincial government has admitted to having difficulty processing the release of the salaries of close to 800 job order and contractual employees who have not been paid in the last two to four months.

Provincial information officer Winston Arzaga said the relevant offices of the provincial government have already been ordered by Governor Jose Alvarez to release the delayed salaries, but said the processing has been slow because of the COVID-19 emergency.

“[Noong] nakaraan nagbaba na ng kautusan si governor na bayaran na lahat. Talagang busy ang mga staff na i-process lahat ‘yan kasi dapat mabayaran lahat ngayong April,” he said.

Arzaga attributed the delay in the process of the release of salaries to the absence of some signatories.

“Na-delay din dahil nga sa skeletal force natin, minsan ang signatories ay wala babalikan na naman ulit. Nagkaroon talaga tayo ng delayed sa pagrelease ng salary,” he said.

Arzaga said that there are four months or three months delayed salaries, depending on the job classification of employees.

“Iba-iba ‘yan, may four months may two months na delayed, depende kasi. Pero ngayong buwan may utos si governor na bayaran na lahat ng delayed salary,” Arzaga added.

The provincial government last month had set aside around P250 million from calamity and trust funds after putting the province under a state of calamity. The funds have been intended to provide assistance to communities affected by the ongoing lockdown and other activities related to the fight against COVID-19.