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Bill seeking to hike gov’t workers’ pay reaches Senate floor for polishing

/ 08:25 PM December 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — A bill seeking to address the “inequality” in salary adjustments for government employees has reached the Senate floor.

Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. On Tuesday sponsored Senate Bill No. 1219 or the Salary Standardization Law of 2019 (SSL V) under Committee Report No. 26.

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Revilla said that the bill seeks to address the issue of inequality in previous Salary Standardization Laws, saying “majority of government employees received negligible increase while high-earning employees received hefty increase.”

Under the bill

Under the measure, salary adjustment will be given in four tranches starting in January 2020 and upon full implementation, basic salaries will increase by a weighted average of 23.24 percent by 2023.

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Revilla said that in effect, employees under SG 10 to SG 15 would be granted the highest increase ranging from 20 to 30 percent while those under SG 23 to 33 would have the lowest increase of 8 percent.

“It will therefore address the issue of inequity,” he said.

Citing data from the  Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as of July 2019, Revilla said there are more than 1.4 million government employees who will benefit from the proposed measure.

Further, the measure gives premium to those under Salary Grade 11 to 19 where most of the teachers and nurses belong, the senator said.

“Lahat ng empleyado na may mababang antas ng sahod ay hindi kumikita ng sapat para matustusan ang pangangailangan nila at ng kanilang pamilya,” Revilla said in his sponsorship speech.

(All employees with low salary grades are not earning enough to spend on their needs and the needs of their families.)

For the implementation of the first trench of the law in 2020, Revilla said that P33.15 billion will be needed.

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Below the poverty line

Citing the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), Revilla said that an average Filipino family would need an aggregate income of P42,000 to live above the poverty line.

Based on this estimate and with the current salary schedule for government employees, many of them are living below the poverty line, Revilla said.

“Gusto po naming siguruhin na maipatupad ang batas na ipapasa natin at maibibigay sa ating mga kawani ang inaasahan nilang pagtaas ng suweldo,” he added.

(We want to ensure that this measure will be implemented and that we can give our government employees their expected salary increase.)

Further, the senator added that the measure seeks to motivate government workers to improve in their respective fields.

“Competitive salaries will attract competent, outstanding, and fresh civil servants,” Revilla said.

Necessary and timely

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, meanwhile, underscored the need for the passage of the measure, saying that even President Rodrigo Duterte has emphasized the necessity and timeliness of the proposed measure.

“During his last State of the Nation Address, the President urges to pass the new Salary Standardization Law to increase the pay of government workers, including public school teachers and public hospital nurses,” Go said.

Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said that while he does not fully endorse the rates that are stated in the measure, he joined  the sponsors “in bringing this measure to the floor in the hope that like proposals that have been here before, it can be improved by our collective wisdom.”

Recto said that he is advocating for higher pay for those in the lower ranks.

“Let me also put on record my call to the executive branch to revamp the position classification system so that items will be properly compensated based on the work done, experience required, competence involved and difficulty in execution,” he added.

The measure was submitted jointly by the Committees on Civil Service, Government Organization and Professional Regulation; and Finance.

The measure adopted the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) recommendation as approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

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