2019 budget key to gov’t workers’ pay hike

2019 budget key to gov’t workers’ pay hike

- in Philippines
DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno says that the 4th tranche of salary increase for government workers hangs pending the approval by Congress of the 2019 national budget. Image from Philippine News.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) officials said that the funding needed for the fourth trance of government workers’ pay hike awaits the approval of the proposed 2019 national budget by Congress. According to the DBM, around P45 to P50 billion is needed to implement the salary raise mandated by provisions of Executive Order (EO) 201 modifying the implementation of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) of 2015.

According to the EO, the funding source since 2016 for the graduated wage hike of employees of national government agencies is the General Appropriations Act (GAA). The proposed 2019 national budget, which Congress failed to approve before their holiday break, is thus key to implementing the latest tranche in salary increases.

“Funding requirements for the compensation adjustments in FYs 2017, 2018, and 2019 will be included in the proposed annual National Expenditures Program submitted to Congress for its approval,” reads the EO.

“The DBM, following the compensation adjustment strategy embodied in Section 1 hereof, and consistent with its authority under Section 7 of RA 6758, as amended, shall then be authorized to implement or adjust the compensation corresponding to the appropriations provided in the GAA,” it said.

For Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), funding “shall come from their respective corporate funds in the corporate operating budgets approved by DBM” while for LGUs “the amounts shall be charged against their respective funds in accordance with the pertinent provisions of this Order and RA 7160.”

According to statements made by Budget and Management Assistance Secretary Myrna Chua in a press briefing on Monday, these above provisions make it clear that specific appropriations from Congress, through an approved yearly budget, are necessary for the fourth tranche’s implementation under EO 201.

Chua further clarified that 2018’s Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund covered only the third tranche of salary increase for about 1.3 million civilian workers and the first tranche of base pay increase for some military and uniformed personnel.

“It really cannot cover the fourth tranche of salary increase” said Chua on the MPBF.

DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno had more to say about the delayed budget. In the same briefing, Diokno that the implementation of the re-enactment budget as the 2019 proposal awaits approval is a failure of lawmakes to do heir jobs. The release of additional pay for state workers is just one of the many programs and projects affected by the delay.

“Many of these problems could have been avoided had Congress just approved the General Appropriations Act,” he said.

Diokno had earlier said that he expects Congress’ approval of the GAA and its proposed P3.575-trillion 2019 national budget by February. Only once approval comes can the DBM release the differential on workers’ pay.

On Wednesday, Jan. 9, Diokno said that implementing a new round of salary increase before the GAA’s passing would be “unconstitutional”.

Diokno also addressed the filing by House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. of a Petition for Mandamus before the Supreme Court. The Mandamus case, filed before lunch on Monday, seeks to compel Diokno to release the budget for the last tranche of scheduled wage increase for government workers this year.

“It’s good that there’s a Mandamus case before the Supreme Court so once and for all we can resolve this issue,” said Diokno, welcoming the petition.

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