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SUFA urges admin to share P100M surplus to faculty and staff

by Ranjie Nocete | November 19, 2021

Silliman University Faculty Association (SUFA) President Jonathan Mark Te called on the Silliman University administration to share the university’s excess revenue to their staff and faculty. 

According to Te, excess of revenues refers to what is left “once you remove all the expenses [and] all the tax expenses.” He explained that since Silliman is registered in the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a  non-stock, non-profit organization, they use the terminology excess of revenue instead of net income. He further elaborated that excess revenue is basically a “surplus.”

In the past two years, the university has recorded a surplus of around P100 million. The earnings are as follows: P54 million in 2020 and P45 million in 2021. Te informed that the figure is provided by the university-audited financial statement. He further explained that “it is part of the labor code” that SUFA be provided with a copy of the financial statement every year.

Regarding settlements, Te confirmed that SUFA is still on deadlock with the administration on their 2019 negotiations. The official SUFA Facebook page posted an excerpt of the position paper they sent to the administration and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The paper consists of issues to be resolved as follows: salary increases, rice allowance, overload pay, and two under retirement benefits.

The paper also states that SUFA has accepted the university’s offer for an across-the-board salary increase of P600 a month for the school year 2019 to 2020 and P1,400 for the school year 2020 to 2021. SUFA also accepted the university’s offer of a P4,600 annual rice allowance. 

However, these prices are considerably lower than what SUFA initially requested for. Te explained that, “In the course of the negotiations, we start high because we want to end up in a certain figure which somehow would be the middle of what the administration would offer.” 

According to the SUFA position paper and Te, the university could have afforded to offer more, given the excess revenue now amounting to over P100 million. However, he said that they still accepted the amount “for a start . . . so that it’s already there.” 

The latter negotiations for better overload pay and retirement benefits were declined. According to Te, the administration wanted SUFA to withdraw these requests because they were already given the salary increase and rice allowance.  

SUFA refused the administration’s counter. “Let’s implement everything else . . . and then the rest, we will ask DOLE to decide,” he said. 

As of now, the administration has not given any response to these issues. They are currently waiting for the decision of DOLE.  “Our intention actually is [that] we want DOLE to resolve the three remaining [issues],” Te elaborated.

Te also explained that those issues date back two years. As of 2021, they have formed a new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). “It’s basically the same CBA and then negotiate some other terms [and] add some proposals [sic],” said Te.

According to Te, there were some proposals that had already been accepted, but since the whole negotiation has not yet been finished, he said it would not be appropriate to mention it now.

As of November 17, the official SUFA Facebook page had updated that the recent 2021 negotiations are on deadlock with the administration once again.

Te shared that “the attitude of the administration continues to be the same”. He further elaborated, “They want to limit the negotiations to 70% of the tuition fee increase. They never want to include the other revenues that are being generated by the University.”

Te informed that the university is also earning from commercial spaces. He said, “Portal West, Portal East, Jollibee, BDO, 7-Eleven, even the [Silliman University] Medical Center Hospital is [sic] renting.”

 “We are all working for the same Silliman University. . . . So, how come it cannot be shared?”  Te questioned.

When asked why the administration should give more benefits to the staff, Te gave his sentiment, “We would want that our quality of education that we are offering to the students, to the clientele, continues to be at par, not just with schools in Manila, but all the more outside of Manila.”

Te added, “We don’t want the good teachers to leave.” According to him, many teachers are opting to transfer to public schools for better benefits.

“We think we deserve to be given an improvement to the benefits. We don’t want everything. We don’t want the university to give it all away,” Te explained.

As of writing, the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration has not responded to the Weekly Sillimanian.

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