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Dancing prisoners, bonuses mark Cebu's 438th birthday

First Posted 15:05:00 08/07/2007

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Cebu, Philippines - Employees of the Cebu provincial government will receive P5,000 each as part of Cebu Province's celebration of its 438th founding anniversary.

And for making Cebu known to the world, P1,000 was given to each inmate of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPRDC), who have become a hit for their dance videos posted on the Internet.

"This has never been done before, but I believe this is right," Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said.

The employees' bonus did not come without a sermon from the governor, who especially targeted Capitol personnel responsible for "leaking" documents that raised questions about the expenses on the Cebu International Convention Center.

Capitol's celebration yesterday was marked by folk dances, a surprise number from selected provincial jail inmates, and the cash bonuses.

Towards the end of the nearly three-hour presentation, Garcia announced the giving of bonuses, but she also took time to express her "disappointment" over some Capitol employees.

"That was my supreme disappointment... one rotten apple will make the entire basket stink. And as I intend to lead this province to even greater heights, for this province to soar above all other provinces in the country, and to take its rightful position not only in the national stage but more importantly in the international arena, I serve notice to all of you right now: We have no room for rotten apples," she said.

All employees, she added, should "shape up or ship out."

Garcia said employees should learn how to spot "rotten eggs."

"It will be your duty to point out this pestering source because I have more Sudlon crops to plant," she said, referring to her recent reassigning of prison jail guards and administrators to the province's plant nursery in Barangay (village) Sudlon.

Garcia commended the presentations of six cluster groups of different Cebuano folk dances, which exhibit "values that have made the Cebuanos a great people."

"The elegance and grace, the simplicity and the modesty. You also saw the discipline and the industry. Those are the values that all of us will emulate and show to the rest of Cebu, the rest of the country. We will be sterling examples of a great Cebuano people," she said.


Garcia said she decided to deviate from giving the employees P10,000 as bonus, which she did in the past years.

"You will not get P10,000. Any complaints? You know what I want, you know what's expected of you. You know what the public deserves. Prove it. Prove that you deserve it," she said.

The employees of five "top performing" departments will also receive additional cash bonuses - P5,000 for each employee of the Provincial Health Office, P4,000 for the employees for the Social Welfare Office, P3,000 for the Provincial Engineering Office's workforce, P2,000 for the Provincial Administration Office's personnel, and P1,000 to each member of the Provincial Treasurer's Office.

"Good work will be rewarded," Garcia said.

Junelene Arenas, president of the Provincial Employees Association of Cebu, said she is grateful for the bonus given to Capitol employees.

"We are happy because we did not expect this. The governor had told us to show and prove our worth before we will be rewarded. This is a good culture she is inculcating on us," she said.

Provincial prisoners also had reason to be happy, as each of them received P1,000 for their own accomplishments.

Recently, CPDRC inmates gained worldwide popularity when a practice video showing them dancing to the tune of Michael Jackson's 1983 hit "Thriller" was posted on the video-sharing website YouTube.

As of Monday, the video has been viewed 4.2 million times.

The dance was performed to selected members of the provincial government, the judiciary, the public, and local and international media on August 1.

On Monday, 26 inmates were brought to the Capitol grounds for a surprise performance for the Capitol employees.

The inmates, who used to perform in rubber slippers, on Monday performed in new sport shoes.

The 26 inmates were issued court orders allowing them to exit the CPDRC, under guard, for four hours so that they could deliver the performance, Capitol security consultant Byron Garcia said.

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