Solon wants salary hike for teachers, gov’t workers in proposed 2024 budget
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker has called for the inclusion of salary hikes for teachers and government employees in the proposed 2024 national budget, saying that public workers also need to cope with the high prices of basic goods and commodities.
ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro during the House Committee on Appropriations’ deliberation of the P5.768 trillion proposed 2024 budget asked whether or not there was an allocation for government workers’ salary increase.
Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman answered her by saying that the Governance Commission For GOCCs (GCG) is still in the process of procuring an agency that would study if there was a need for higher compensation for government workers.
“Dahil ‘di naman binanggit ng ating Secretary ng DBM ‘yong tungkol sa salary ng mga government employees, so just the same, tatanungin ko pa rin. Wala bang maaasahan, or may maaasahan ba ang mga government employees na salary increase by 2024?” Castro asked.
(Since our DBM Secretary did not mention anything about a salary increase for government employees, so just the same, I would ask this. Can we expect any salary increase for 2024?)
“Under the 2023 General Appropriations Act po, we appropriated P48 million to be given to GCG for the procurement of consultancy service for the review, study of our compensation, and position qualification system for the government sector. As of now, they are ongoing procurement, and they said they will be able to provide the results of the study by October, ma’am,” Pangandaman said.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) head said that if the agency tapped by GCG to do the study recommends an increase, it can still be included in the 2024 national budget.
However, Castro expressed doubts if government workers would be able to rely on that since there should already be a corresponding item for salary increases.
“And we think, assuming there’s a recommendation of an increase of salary, I think kaya pa naman po (we can include that) before we pass the budget,” Pangandaman said.
“So nangangamba ako kung kakayanin kasi dapat makikita natin ‘yan na allocation sa ating budget. So wala akong nakikitang ganyan Madam Chair (I am worried if we can rely on that because we should already see that in the proposed budget. But I don’t see anything Madam Chair),” Castro replied.
Prior to Castro’s questions, members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers staged a protest in front of the Batasang Pambansa gates to also call for salary increases.
According to ACT chairperson Vladimer Quetua, it was disappointing that the administration did not allocate any salary increase for government workers in the proposed 2024 budget, given that the Salary Standardization Law V will end.
“It is disappointing that in the proposed budget for 2024, the Marcos Jr administration has zero allocation for salary increases of all government employees. This year, the implementation of the Salary Standardization Law V will end, and the government is supposed to include in its proposal the next round of increases,” Quetua said.
“Kaya ngayong pagsisimula ng pagdinig ng kongreso, nais naming igiit sa ating mga mambabatas na dapat ay maglaan ng pondo para sa pagtataas ng sweldo ng mga guro at kawani sa gobyerno sa 2024. Sa tindi ng krisis pang-ekonomiya, makatwiran na itaas sa nakabubuhay at disenteng antas ang sahod ng malawak na hanay ng pampublikong kawani kasama kaming mga guro at kawani sa edukasyon,” he added.
(That’s why as Congress starts hearing the proposed budget, we want to call on our lawmakers to put funds for the salary increase of teachers and government employees in 2024. With the harsh economic crisis, it is only fair for workers to get decent salaries.)
Quetua also noted that teachers have been left behind in terms of salaries, as other government workers like police officers have obtained higher pay in recent years.
“Kaya nararapat lamang na tumbasan ng pagtataas ng sweldo ang sigasig at sakripisyo ng mga guro na ipagpatuloy ang edukasyon sa kabila ng malaking kakulangan sa pondo, guro, silid at pasilidad, learning at teaching resources, at education support personnel. Bokya sa salary increase pero may milyunes sa Confidential Funds,” he added.
(That’s why it is only right to repay the sacrifices of teachers with a higher salary, as they continue teaching despite the huge lack of funds, teachers, classrooms and learning facilities, learning and teaching resources, and education support personnel. We do not have anything for salary increase but millions were allocated to confidential funds.)
Earlier, the House panel started deliberating the proposed 2024 budget, starting with agencies within the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC). According to House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, they would ensure that the allocations would be in accordance with the government’s economic agenda and its development goals.