House leaders defend hefty pay, paltry sums under salary law
Why should a utility worker earn the same salary as a manager?
House of Representatives leaders have taken this tune in defending the proposed Salary Standardization Law (SSL) 2015, which seeks to hike the pay of government workers in four tranches from 2016 to 2019.
Majority floor leader Neptali Gonzales II said the SSL could not allow the pay of a utility worker and a manager to be equal. He made the statement as a reaction on the Makabayan bloc’s call to junk the SSL 2015 due to hefty pay hikes to high-ranking officials and paltry sums to ordinary workers.
“Kung susundin natin ang Makabayan, ang gusto nila ang sweldo ng manager at utility ay pareho. Hindi naman pe-pwede yun,” Gonzales said.
He clarified that he did not look down on the work of the ordinary workers and their low pay. “Hindi ko naman dinidiin ang sweldo ng clerk at utility,” Gonzales said.
“Even in the private sector, may difference ang utility at clerk sa managerial position,” Gonzales added.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. further hit the Makabayan bloc—composed of party-lists Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, and Kabataan—for being “wired to say anything.”
“The fact of the matter is we’re the ones making it possible,” Belmonte said of the pay hike.
He said the salary grades had been outdated for some time already. He said when he was president of the Government Service and Insurance System in 1987, he only received P29,000 per month, the same salary of an undersecretary.
“Nung president ako ng GSIS, ang sweldo ko ay equivalent of an undersecretary, or P29,000 per month. And I’m running 28 corporations,” Belmonte said.
The Makabayan bloc called for the junking of the SSL 2015, which they claimed gave a paltry salary raise to ordinary workers while granting a hefty increase to the President and other high-ranking government officials.
Act Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio lamented the small P2,205 increase for the country’s 600,000 public school teachers in the four tranches of SSL 2015 implementation.
He said the current salary of an entry-level teacher is at P18,549. Under the SSL, the pay for Teacher 1 would increase to P19,077 in the first year of implementation in 2016, P19,620 in 2017, P20,179 in 2018, and P20,754 in 2019.
The most basic Salary Grade 1 would also be increased from P9,000 to P11,068 a month.
Meanwhile, the President’s salary is increased from the current P120,000 to as much as P388,096. The Vice President, Speaker of the House, Senate President, and Chief Justice’s salary would be increased to as much as P353,470 after four years.
“Ang average nito ay P551 increase per year. Sa isang buwan, P551 ang magiging dagdag divided by the number of working days, is something like P24 per day ang increase for public school teachers,” Tinio said.
“It’s a total of 11.9 percent increase … The inflation is around three and four percent. A P500 increase, hindi maco-cover ang inflation,” Tinio added.
He further called a “double whammy” the administration’s SSL 2015 on top of its refusal to back the proposed measure to lower income tax.
Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap also said the SSL 2015 only favored high-ranking officials while keeping the pay hike of ordinary workers at the minimum.
He said the SSL was also meant to hype up public support for the Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Mar Roxas in the 2016 elections.
“SSL 2015 ay self-serving sa administrasyon ni Aquino. Tingin ko, bahagi ito ng kanilang kampanya para matiyak ang suporta sa tatakbong presidentiable ng Liberal Party,” Hicap said.
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