This week, Palawan News ran yet another story on an old complaint that provincial government contractual employees were not being paid their salaries on time. This was after receiving information from an anonymous employee that their wages for the last seven months have not yet been released.

It had been hard for the media trying to piece together a complete picture of the story as there was no department head available or willing to provide information that will clarify the story.

If indeed salaries are still not being paid at the Capitol contrary to earlier claims made by several officials that the matter had already been resolved, the real reason, for now, is left to public speculation.

The official explanation offered back in 2020 when this story was first reported was because the pandemic slowed down the processing of supporting documents needed for the release of salaries. At that time, Capitol’s manpower was largely on a work at home arrangement, slowing down the processing of documents.

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Another story that came out in December last year had a new element — the funds for the back wages had already been sourced following a supplemental allocation by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, and an assurance was made by responsible officials that all salaries will be disbursed before that year ended.

So far in this latest installment in what is emerging to be an annual story theme, no one simply is willing or available to give an explanation. If the latest claim is true that salaries of contractual employees, particularly those assigned in the north remain backlogged for seven months, it is no longer justifiable by any means.

For an administration that prides itself with numerous accomplishments in governance over many years, the persistent issue of delayed salaries only serves to negate this image.

Finally, in the absence of any official information to clarify the issue once and for all, it doesn’t help at all that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan that is responsible for oversight, seems unaware as the rest of the public.

For fairness’ sake, the government employees, contractual as they may be, have rendered service. They must be paid.

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