COA affirms grant of compensation to illegally dismissed NPC workers

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    THE Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) has failed to secure a favorable ruling from the Commission on Audit (COA) in its motion for partial reconsideration of the September 23, 2019 decision ordering it and the National Power Corporation (NPC) to pay compensation to thousands of unlawfully dismissed former employees of the NPC.

    In a resolution issued last September 20 but released only this week, the COA Commission Proper affirmed its previous findings that both PSALM and NPC are liable to pay up the displaced workers’ backwages, salary differentials, wage adjustments, and separation pay plus legal interest.

    The COA’s pronouncement is anchored on the 2006 Supreme Court ruling in the case of NPC Drivers and Mechanics Association, et al vs. NPC and a subsequent resolution issued on November 21, 2017.

    NPC and PSALM were both directed to “immediately update the list of computation of employees entitled to receive their pay, 17 years after losing their jobs.

    The SC and COA rulings did not mention the amount due since the personal circumstances of the claimants vary from each other depending on length of service and positions held at the time of their termination of services in 2003.

    The COA said the amount due each personnel will be increased by 12 percent yearly interest from October 2008 to June 30, 2013, and six percent from July 2013 onwards.

    However, it clarified that only NPC employees who were dismissed and not rehired by PSALM are entitled to separation pay in lieu of reinstatement to their former posts, back wages, and other adjustments after deduction of compensation already received under the original separation plan.

    In its motion, PSALM argued that the ruling could put it in an untenable position where it will be forced to use funds outside of the privatization of NPC assets and contracts since the amount of obligation imposed on it and the NPC is more than the proceeds raised.

    It said, under such conditions, it will be called upon to disburse public funds in a manner that will violate the provisions of RA No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).