MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has on Tuesday (12 November 2019) urged the Duterte administration to immediately initiate the issuance of an Executive Order to hasten the increase in basic salaries of all civil servants.
Recto pointed out during the Senate plenary debates on the proposed P4.1 trillion national budget for 2020 that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had already allocated P31.1 billion to the next tranche of the Salary Standardization Act.
However, Sen. Sonny Angara, who supports the government’s spending plan as chair of the Senate Finance Committee, announced that this year only P12 billion of the P35 billion allocated to the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) can be allocated.
But Angara countered that next year the DBM will set aside P63 billion for MPBF.
“If you allot P63 billion for that [next year], that will not be utilized anyway. So we can realign part of that,” Recto said.
“When will you give the next salary increase for government employees?” he asked members of the President’s economic team, led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
The leader of the Senate finance committee also said that by issuing an executive order, the previous Aquino administration was able to raise the salaries of civilian government employees.
“So you can do it now through an executive order. You need not wait for Congress to pass a law since you already appropriated (almost) P32 billion for that. It’s almost Christmas already,” he said.
Recto said in a separate statement that the state workers’ salary adjustment was “a promise made to them” after the president approved the increase in soldiers and policemen’s take-home pay.
“It is time to redeem this promissory note,” Recto said. “After the uniformed services had their salary increases two years ago, [the] government is duty-bound to extend the same to civilian government employees.”
“I can only surmise that the Palace is having a hard time calibrating the increases and apportioning how much each one would get,” he said. (Cate Pallarco/IAMIGO/CNS)