By Mario Casayuran
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong’’ Go on Friday advised workers in government whining over their low pay to just leave the service and give their posts to those who truly want to serve the people.
“Marami pong Pilipino ang gusto magtrabaho ng tapat. Para sa mga hindi kuntento sa pagseserbisyo ng tapat, mas mabuting ibigay niyo nalang po ang inyong trabaho sa ibang tao na ginugustong magserbisyo sa bayan at hindi ang magpayaman,’’ Go said. (There are many Filipinos who want to enter government service and truly serve. To those who are not contented because of low pay, leave your posts and give them to those who want to serve and have no plans to get rich.)
“Pumasok tayo sa gobyerno para magserbisyo. Hindi po para yumaman. Hindi rason ang mababang sweldo para maging corrupt. Prayoridad natin ang maglingkod sa tao. Kapakanan ng kapwa Pilipino ang palagi nating unahin,’’ he added. (You entered government service to serve, not go get rich. Low pay is not a reason to be corrupt. Our priority is to serve the people.)
A recent Senate inquiry showed that some Bureau of Immigration (BI) employees had received pay offs from travel agencies or tourists to enter the country without visas after they said their overtime pay were restricted.
BI employees later demanded salary increases.
In response, Go said the Duterte Administration was always committed in promoting the welfare of government employees, such as through better compensation.
“Early this year, President Duterte signed into law the Salary Standardization Law 5, which I authored, increasing the salaries of government civilian employees,’’ he added.
“As to the appeal of Bureau of Immigration employees for increased pay, this administration continues to provide augmentation pay in accordance with the law,’’ he explained.
The lawmaker from Davao said that in 2018 and 2019, the Office of the President issued Memo Order 24 s. 2018 and Memo Order 39 s. 2019, respectively, allowing the use of Express Lane Fees to augment the salaries of BI personnel.
“And they continue to receive the same this year, subject to certain conditions, as authorized by the General Appropriations Act 2020,’’ Go said.
The Immigration Officers Association of the Philippines Inc. is lobbying Congress to approve a pending measure to replace the outdated Immigration Act of 1940 or the Salary Standardization Law to increase the salary grade of BI officers.
Go, a former special assistant to President Duterte, assured the BI employees that he would support this measure and would urge his colleagues to pass this immediately.
‘’Being a worker in government for the past 21 years, I understand what government employees go through,’’ he explained.
“Mahirap maging empleyado ng gobyerno. Malaking sakripisyo ito para sa pamilya dahil hindi ganun kataas ang sweldo kumpara sa pribadong sektor. Pero iba ang katuparang nadadama dahil nakapagserbisyo ka sa ating bayan,’’ he added. (It is really difficult to be in government service. It is a big sacrifice to their families as their pay is not big compared to those in the private sector. But it is a different feeling having served the country.)
“Patuloy naming isinusulong ni Pangulong Duterte ang kapakanan ng mga empleyado, katulad ng mas magandang benepisyo, para naman maalagaan ang kanilang mga pamilya,’’ he said. (I and President Duterte continue to push for measures that would benefit the employees so they could take care of their families.)
“Gagawin po namin lahat ng pwedeng gawin basta naaayon sa batas. Ang hiling lang namin sa mga kawani ng gobyerno ay basta magserbisyo kayo ng tapat sa bayan at sa inyong kapwa,’’ Go stressed. (We will do anything as long as it is according to law. All we ask of those in government service is to serve your countrymen and the government.)
“As the President reiterated numerous times: we are here to work for the people, for a better future for our children,’’ he stressed.