Castro urges bicam to restore P70-B gov’t workers’ wage hike in budget bill
MANILA, Philippines — ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro has appealed to the bicameral conference committee assigned to craft the final budget bill, to put back a P70 billion fund intended for government workers’ salary increases.
In a statement on Thursday, Castro asked why this was not part of the proposed budget when salary hikes were a campaign promise of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Currently, the bicameral conference committee has not finished resolving differences between the House of Representative version and the Senate version of the P5.768 trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB). House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said the bicam would finish the budget bill on Monday.
“Salary increase for government employees, especially for teachers, have been part of the campaign promise of Pres. Marcos Jr. to them and is very important for them to cope with high prices of goods and services now. Why was it slashed?” Castro asked.
“We can see this massive deduction in the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund – from P135.73 billion it was slashed to P65.73 billion. While under the New Appropriations, by Purpose part of the NEP/GAB, the Funding Requirements for Staffing Modification and Upgrading of Salaries and Other Compensation Adjustment decreased from P93.89 billion to P23.89 billion,” she added.
Furthermore, Castro claimed that the Lump Sum for Compensation Adjustment for Civilian Personnel was lowered from P89.909 billion to P19.909 billion, supposedly translating to a decrease in the expected salary increase from around P3,200 per month if equally divided per government employee to just P720 per month in the latest General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
“Now how significant is this budget cut for government employees? Based on the Civil Service Commission (CSC), as of June 30, 2023, there are 2.8 million government employees. Career employees at 1,751,975 and Non-Career at 221,325 with a total of 1,973,300, the remainder are JOs (job orders) and COS (contract of service workers),” Castro said.
“The P89.909 billion budget for Lump Sum for Compensation Adjustment for Civilian Personnel pay is equivalent to P3,254.50 monthly salary increase per government employee. But because it was drastically reduced by P70 billion by the HOR, only P720.67 can be the expected salary increase for government employees,” she noted.
Castro relayed that she was able to get this computation by dividing the Lump Sum for Compensation Adjustment for Civilian Personnel at the National Expenditures Program (NEP) or the proposed budget of the executive, which is P89.90 billion, by 14 or the number of months in a year that a government worker gets his or her salary — including 13th month and 14th month pay.
The quotient, P6.42 billion, is then divided by 1.973 million or the number of government workers, which yields an answer of P3,254.50 increase per month.
Castro then used the same formula, but with the supposed bicam-deducted compensation adjustment of P19.90 billion, which eventually led to just a P720.67 monthly wage hike for government employees.
“We hope that the bicameral conference committee can restore this slashed budget to give what is due to government employees,” she said.