BI allowed to use express lane fund to pay personnel

Published July 17, 2018, 2:58 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Genalyn Kabiling

The government has released the guidelines allowing the use of the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) express lane fees to augment the salaries of its personnel.

In Memorandum Order No. 24 issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, a special trust fund will be created from the express lane fees collected by the immigration bureau for the payment of workers’ salaries and overtime pay.

(MANILA BULLETIN)
(MANILA BULLETIN)

The latest Palace order will be in effect until December 31, 2018, or until the passage of an Immigration Modernization Law, or a measure that will increase the base pay rates of the BI employees.

“The Philippine Immigration Act has not been updated since its passage in 1940, and the basic monthly pay of BI employees has remained extremely low in spite of their work, thereby leading to a large number of resignations and causing prejudice to the efficient delivery of frontline services,” the order read.

“There is a need for an interim measure to augment the salaries of BI employees, in recognition of the indispensability of their functions, the apparent disparity between the basic pay of BI employees and employees of agencies performing comparable functions, and to promote the continuous and unhampered delivery of basic government services,” it added.

Under the memorandum, the Department of Justice and the Department of Budget and Management have been directed to adopt the guidelines on the augmentation pay of BI personnel.

The order stated that express lanes fees and charges collected by the BI must be deposited in a special trust fund account with a government bank. The collection will comprise the “Express Lane Fund” (ELF).

At least 64 percent of the ELF will be used to augment the salaries of BI’s organic personnel who render service beyond regular work hours, 24 percent for salaries of BI’s contractual personnel; and 11 percent to be remitted to the National Treasury as income of the general fund.

“The base pay of an Assistant Division Chief in the BI (Salary Grade 22), reduced by 20 percent of such amount, is set as the cap or limitation on the augmentation pay rates,” the order read.

The augmentation pay covering January to May 2018 for the entitled organic personnel shall also be immediately released, the order added.

The issuance of the guidelines for the BI special provision No. 1 under Republic Act No. 10964 also known as General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2018 was signed by Medialdea last July 13. It was released to the Palace media Tuesday.

In his veto message to Congress for the 2018 national budget, the President said he would allow the use of the express lane fees to pay for the salaries and overtime pay of BI workers until Congress enacts a new law addressing their pay problems.

Duterte recognized the important function of BI employees especially as the first line of defense in securing and protecting the country’s borders.

 
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