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Gov’t workers pay hike depends on passage of 2019 budget

MANILA — Around PHP45 to PHP50 billion is needed for the fourth tranche of government workers’ pay hike, which Department of Budget and Management (DBM) officials said can only be paid once Congress approves the proposed 2019 national budget.

Citing provisions of Executive Order (EO) 201, issued in February 2016, Budget and Management Assistant Secretary Myrna Chua, in a briefing Monday, stressed that implementation of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) of 2015 is “subject to appropriations by Congress.”

The said EO states that the funding source for the graduated wage hikes since 2016 is the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Section 15 of the said EO states that for national government agencies, budget for their employees’ pay hike in 2016 will be charged against that year’s GAA.

“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,” it said.

“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.

The funding for salary increase for those in Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) “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.”

“These provisions clearly state that we need specific appropriations from Congress for the implementation of the fourth tranche salary under EO 201,” Chua said.

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

“It really cannot cover the fourth tranche of salary increase,” she said.

Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno, in the same briefing, said implementation of the re-enacted budget, which affected the release of additional pay for state workers, among others, would not have happened had lawmakers done their jobs.

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

Earlier, Diokno said he expects Congress to approve the proposed PHP3.757-trillion 2019 national budget by February and once approved DBM will then release the differential on workers’ pay.

Meanwhile, before lunch Monday, House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. filed before the Supreme Court a Petition for Mandamus to require Diokno to release the budget for the last tranche of scheduled pay hike for government workers this year.

Diokno, in turn, welcomed the petition.

“It’s good that there’s a Mandamus case before the Supreme Court so once and for all we can resolve this issue,” he added. (Joann Villanueva)


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