Immigration workers skipping work amid Duterte veto on OT pay
President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to stop the overtime pay of employees from the Bureau of Immigration assigned in various ports around the country causing a mass exodus has put the country’s national security at risk.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said 32 officials from the BI have resigned while 50 more have already gave notice of taking a six month leave of absence to look for new jobs.
Records from the BI showed that more than 3,000 of its personnel have been on leave as of Feb. 17.
“Many of them have stopped working or have gone on leave because their overtime will not be paid,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade called him and raised a concern over the long queues on Immigration lanes at the airports.
“Sec. Tugade called me and said the DOTr’s operation has been affected by the situation at BI,” Aguirre said.
“We are really losing our [immigration] personnel. I hope the President will consider recalling his order,” he said, adding that he understands the predicament of the Immigration officers because they have been receiving a maximum salary of P14,000 a month.
Before Duterte’s order, he said Immigration personnel have been receiving as much as P48,000 in overtime pay.
While the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) allocated P200-million for the overtime work of the BI personnel, Aguirre said the fund would only provide a maximum of P5,000 in overtime pay for each Immigration personnel.
The BI needs 4,000 employees. But Aguirre said most of the positions only provides for a salary grade of 1 to 11 or a maximum of P14,000.
If the employee is renting a house and commuting to work, a P14,000 pay is not enough.
The exodus, Aguirre said, could take a toll on the national security “because nobody is guarding the exit and entry (points) in our ports.”
The Justice chief added that not only the national security but also the economy and tourism have been affected by the problem at BI.
Aguirre said he already talked to Secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco Jr. for a palliative measure.
He said he is hoping that the issue will be discussed in Monday’s Cabinet meeting. JE
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