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House panel OKs gov’t workers’ pay hike by 2020; urgent passage sought

/ 12:13 PM December 16, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The House appropriations committee swiftly approved on Monday the consolidated bill increasing the salary of government employees by 2020.

The panel will seek the certification as urgent of House Bill No. 5712 from the Office of the President, its chair and Davao 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab said in an interview. Both the House and Senate aim to tackle their respective versions of the Salary Standardization Law V (SSL V) during their respective sessions also on Monday.

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“We expect that the Office of the President might issue a certificate of urgency anytime after ma-file ang committee report sa plenary mamaya (we file the committee report before the plenary later),” Ungab said.

If the measure is signed into law beyond January 2020, the implementation of the salary adjustment will still be retroactive. The measure was a consolidation of 105 bills authored by various congressmen.

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Despite the speedy approval, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro said the salary increase under the measure was insufficient.

For one, Salary Grade 1 employees will receive a measly P2,000 increase or P500 each year from 2020 to 2023 if the bill is passed into law. Under the bill, SG 1 will increase from P11,000 to P13,000 by 2023.

Castro also said the basic salary of public teachers (Teacher 1) will increase from P20,754 to P27,000 after four years.

“Kapos sya ng P3,000 doon sa proposal ng teachers… Sobra namang napakabarat nitong proposal na ito ng DBM at ng liderato ng House dahil matagal na nga naming hinihiling ‘yung P30,000,” the progressive lawmaker said in an interview, as she vowed to push for a higher salary hike at the House plenary debates and the bicameral conference panel meetings.

(This is P3,000 short of the teachers’ proposed salary hike… This proposal of the Department of Budget and Management and the House leadership is too low because we have long been appealing for a P30,000 basic pay for public teachers.)

Ungab argued that the SSL V was based on a study conducted by the DBM, which they believed was “well-prepared.” Some P34.2 billion was allocated for SSL V’s implementation under the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund in the proposed 2020 national budget, he said.

“Kung kaya lang ibigay ang mataas (If we can augment) why not? Ang problema, (the problem is) we also have limited funds,” he said.

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“Kung may pagkukulang man (If this is not enough), we hope to correct that in the future,” he added.

By 2023, public educators who are Teacher 1 will receive a 30.1 percent pay increase, while Teachers 2 and 3 will enjoy a 27.1 percent and 24.1 percent augmentation, respectively, according to Ungab. The overall average increase upon full implementation by 2023 is 23.24 percent, he said.

He added that uniformed personnel and incumbent lawmakers who passed the measure are not covered by the salary adjustment.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said they also hope to pass their version of the SSL V before Congress goes on a Christmas break this week. The bills will have to be consolidated and ratified by the Senate and House before it could be sent to President Rodrigo Duterte for his consideration.

Read HB 5712 here:

Edited by JE
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TAGS: appropriations, bill, France Castro, House, Isidro Ungab, salary hike, Salary Standardization V
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