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DESPITE UNAPPROVED BUDGET

Gov’t workers getting 4th pay hike after all

President Rodrigo Duterte has amended an executive order that would give government workers their salary increases even if the 2019 national budget bill has not been enacted, Malacañang said on Wednesday.

The President on March 15 issued Executive Order No. 76, which amended EO 201, or the 2016 Salary Standardization Law (SSL), which in turn modified the salary schedule and authorized the grant of additional benefits to both civilian and military personnel.

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“The President does not want to prolong the overdue salary increase that our public servants, who have been working tirelessly and silently for the last two months, have been looking forward to,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

Panelo noted that the congressional impasse over the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) has caused a delay in the implementation of salary adjustments under the fourth tranche of the SSL.

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He said the President directed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to “find and recommend a measure to fund the fourth tranche of salary increase of state workers.”

Pending the enactment of the GAB, the funding for the compensation adjustment this year will be charged against appropriations under the reenacted 2018 budget, which would be determined by the DBM, he said.

Vigorous call

He said Malacañang reiterated its “vigorous call” on the Senate and the House of Representatives to end the impasse “with dispatch” so that the President may review and approve the proposed budget in order “to assist this government better the lives of our countrymen and help the nation move forward.”

Former President Aquino signed EO 201, or the SSL, in February 2016 after Congress failed to approve the proposed bill that would give government workers the wage hike that the DBM had announced in November 2015.

Under the SSL, the  1.3 million government employees, except for incumbent elected national officials, would be given four rounds of yearly salary increases starting Jan. 1, 2016.

On the average, government employees would receive 55 percent of what those in the private sector are getting in hopes that the pay increase would help government “attract and retain competent and committed civil servants.”

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The increase, which would cost a total of P226 billion, will raise Salary Grade 1 received by the lowest paid government employee, from P9,000 to P11,068 monthly by January 2019.

Last tranche

The monthly salary of the next President, Aquino’s successor, also was to be raised from P120,000 to P388,000 by 2019. The hazard pay of all military and uniformed personnel will be increased, too, from P240 to P840 monthly by Jan.  1, 2019.

The 2019 national budget contains provisions for the fourth and last tranche of salary increases for civil servants, but the delay in its enactment stalled the pay raise.

Former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said that without the passage of the 2019 budget bill, there would be no legal basis for paying the  fourth tranche because  the reenacted 2018 budget provided funding only for the third tranche.

Citing Section 11 of EO 201, Diokno said payment of the increases was “subject to appropriations of Congress.”

But EO 76, which Mr. Duterte signed last week, sought to fund the fourth tranche of the salary increase from “any available appropriations” in the 2018 budget. —With a report from Inquirer Research

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TAGS: government workers’ pay hike, Rodrigo Duterte, Salary Standardization Law
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