By Mario Casayuran
Some P31.1 billion have been allocated under the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) in the proposed 2020 P4.1 trillion national budget for the implementation of the first tranche of salary increases once Congress passes a bill modifying the salary schedule for civilian government personnel.
Neophyte Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘’Bong’’ T. Go stressed this during the public hearing of the Senate civil service, government reorganization and professional regulation committee chaired by Senator Ramon Revilla Jr.
Target of the Revilla committee is to explore all possibilities of implementing salary increase for government workers, especially rank-and-file employees who are in “financial trouble.”
It is focused on Salary Standardization Law V, Salary Increase and Granting of Additional Benefits for Teachers.
In his opening statement, Revilla said that he was aware of the urgent need to implement a viable and fair salary increase for all government employees to help augment their source of income and provide a decent living for their families.
He also emphasized that the “green light” for the salary increase was given by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte during his Fourth State of the Nation Address last July 22.
‘’In recognition of their invaluable contributions, our civil servants, the people who dedicate their everyday lives to the service of the Filipino people, must be given an opportunity to pursue a career in the service that would allow them to enjoy competitive wages, enough to address their personal needs and that of their families,’’ Go said.
‘’As promised by the President, the government will continue to look after the welfare of its employees and grant salary increase to all civilian employees, including teachers and nurses,’’ he stressed.
‘’We intend to provide competitive and equitable pay to attract and retain competent and committed civil servants, while also keeping it affordable and sustainable,’’ she added.
Go said that the proposed salary adjustments would raise the pay of government personnel to a level closer to market rates, while giving priority to the rank-and-file positions in the sub-professional and professional categories, especially the teachers.
Officials of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), as well as various government and labor sectors and groups, raised their personal concerns surrounding the implementation of salary increase for government workers.
Once passed into law, the salary increase will benefit around 1.4 million civilian personnel in the national government.
Go stressed that each day, government employees continue to make important and unquantifiable contributions to ensure our physical safety and security, and the continued and robust growth of our economy.
‘’As promised by the President, the government will continue to look after the welfare of its employees and grant salary increase to all civilian employees, including teachers and nurses,’’ he said.
‘’We intend to provide competitive and equitable pay to attract and retain competent and committed civil servants, while also keeping it affordable and sustainable,’’ he added.
An adjustment in the basic salary will also result in higher take-home pay as benefits such as Mid-Year and Year-End bonuses will also increase.
The salary increase will be implemented in three tranches, from 2020 to 2022.
‘’We will work closely with the Executive Branch in refining the provisions of the proposed bills to increase the salary of our government personnel,’’ Go explained.
Revilla said reports reaching him indicated that some government employees were forced to even pawn their ATM cards as collateral for loans.
‘’Other employees even face the trouble of being arrested because of their failure to pay their loans on time,’’ he said.
Revilla stressed the importance of the salary increase for government workers so that they will no longer fall prey to loan sharks and other unscrupulous lenders.