By Hannah Torregoza
Sen. Nancy Binay on Friday called on the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release as soon as possible the fourth tranche of the scheduled increase in government workers’ salary for 2019.
Binay said the DBM should prioritize its release this month, February, even though the bicameral conference committee is still finalizing the proposed General Appropriations Bill for 2019.
“Sana ngayong February ay mai-release na agad ng DBM ang fourth tranche ng salary adjustment para sa mga kawani ng pamahalaan, (I hope the DBM can release the fourth tranche of the salary adjustment for government employees this February),” Binay said.
“Malaking tulong po lalo na’t malapit nanaman ang pasukan, at nakaambang ang adjustments sa oil products, (That would be a great help to them in preparation for the school opening and the expected adjustments on oil products),” Binay pointed out.
The senator made the appeal after Senate finance committee chair Loren Legarda said that the salary hike for government workers this year can be taken from the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF).
“Readily available at meron pong pondo para dito ang DBM. Di na po kailangan maghintay ng matagal para mai-release ang salary increase under SSL-IV, (There’s a fund for this and its readily available. There’s no need to wait long for the salary increase under SSL-IV is released,” Binay stressed.
SSL stands for Salary Standardization Law (SSL) which increases the compensation and benefits of government employees in tranches.
According to Binay, at least P75-billion from the MPBF is allotted for “payment of compensation adjustment” and “funding requirements for staffing modifications and upgrading and salaries,” which could be used by the DBM for the fourth tranche of salary increases.
“Earlier, the DBM estimated the fourth tranche of wage hikes for government workers to be between P40 and P50-billion,” Binay pointed out.
“The P75-billion from the MPBF is more than enough to cover the fourth tranche salary increase and adjustments of the more than 1 million government employees in the country,” she added.
The reenacted 2018 GAA provides that DBM may tap the MPBF to fund authorized personnel and benefit items, including pay increases. The government is now using it as its spending authority while the 2019 national budget bill is remains pending at the bicam level.