House panel okays bill on pay hike for gov’t workers

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    THE House committee on appropriations yesterday endorsed for plenary approval a consolidated bill seeking to increase the salaries of government workers, including teachers and nurses, starting next year.

    Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, panel chair, said the implementation of the salary adjustment will be retroactive if the measure is signed into law beyond January 2020.

    There is a P34-billion allocation for salary increase of government employees under the P4.1-trillion proposed national budget for 2020 budget.

    The panel approved House Bill No. 5712, which is a consolidated version of the measure, before Ungab sponsored it in the plenary to open floor deliberations on the measure.

    The measure was sponsored on the floor days after the Office of the President certified it as urgent.

    Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the President wants that the salary schedule for civilian government personal to be at par with their counterparts in the uniformed service.

    Medialdea made the statement in a December 13 letter sent to Senate President Vicente Sotto, saying President Duterte certified the measure as urgent.

    Sotto said the Senate plans to pass the measure on third and final reading before Congress’ Christmas break starting December 21.

    Under the measure passed by the House panel, Salary Grade 1 employees will receive a measly P2,000-increase or P500 each year from 2020 to 2023.

    By 2023, a Teacher 1 will have received a 30.1 percent salary increase, while Teachers 2 and 3 will have been paid an additional 27.1 percent and 24.1 percent, respectively.

    The proposed law provides for the grant of a midyear bonus to government workers equivalent to one month salary as of May 15 of a given year, for as long as they have rendered at least four months of service and are still in service at that time.

    ACT party-list Rep. France Castro protested the amount of additional pay approved by the panel, saying it is insufficient given the rising cost of living.

    “It’s far from the P3,000-increase that teachers are asking for,” she said. “This proposal that the House leadership approved is a pittance.”

    Ungab, however, said the Salary Standardization Law V was based on a study conducted by the Department of Budget and Management based on the available budget.

    “If this is not enough, we hope to correct that in the future,” Ungab said.

    ACT party-list earlier slammed the allotment for salary increase of government employees under the 2020 budget, saying it is not even half of the money that the government is spending for the increase in the salaries of policemen and soldiers.

    It said the amount allocated for the increase in the salaries of civilian state workers pales in comparison to the P76-billion budget for the increase in the salaries of all uniformed personnel.

    The group called out President Duterte’s alleged “favoritism” of the police and the military, saying it is “extremely unfair” for the government to spend P76 billion for the salary increase of about 300,000 uniformed personnel but is willing to give “less than half of the amount for civilian employees who are four-folds in number.” – With Raymond Africa