P121.7B in salary hike awaits gov't workers in 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Government employees can expect a P121.7-billion ($2.29 billion) allocation in the proposed 2019 national budget meant to fund salary increases. 

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr said in a statement on Saturday, August 4 that the P3.757-trillion ($70.78 billion) National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2019 includes an allocation that covers salary increases of civil servants and military and uniformed personnel.

Andaya said that P121.7-billion ($2.29 billion) allocation accounts for almost a tenth of the P1.185-trillion ($22.33 billion) budget for personnel services in the 2019 NEP. In 2018, appropriation for personnel services was only at P1.06 trillion ($19.97 billion). (READ: Education, infra get a third of proposed P3.757-T 2019 nat'l budget)

Of the earmarked amount, P70 billion ($1.32 billion) will fund the 2nd installment of the salary adjustment of military and uniformed personnel. In January, Congress signed a joint resolution authorizing the compensation adjustment.

The remaining P51.7 ($974 million) billion is earmarked for the 4th and final tranche of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) which covers civilian employees.

In 2015, former President Benigno Aquino III pushed for the SSL – which mandates a 4-year salary increase to the basic salaries of government employees – arguing then that government pay was only 55% of market rates. 

Under the SSL, police and soldiers also receive higher hazard pay, a provisional allowance, and officers' allowance.

Andaya on Saturday said the P1.185-trillion ($22.33 billion) allocation for personnel services will fund the compensation for new government posts in 2019: 10,000 Teacher 1 positions, 10,000 Police Officer 1 positions, 3,000 Fire Officer 1 positions, and 2,000 Jail Officer 1 positions.

He said the increase in the number of government positions "triggers a corresponding hike in the payroll and pension costs" for the bureaucracy.

Citing budget documents, Andaya also said authorized civilian positions in the government has increased from 1.1 million in 2015, to 1.32 million in 2018. Government expects bureaucracy to balloon to 1.41 million employees in 2019.

Scrap unfilled positions?

However, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Wednesday, August 1, threatened to scrap 264,000 unfilled government positions.

"The DBM will be issuing a circular directing all agencies to fill all authorized positions available to them or risk abolition of positions left unfilled after five years from creation," Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said in a media briefing.

But Diokno said necessary posts of teachers, lawyers, police, and military should be filled up.

Teaching positions top the list with 125,000 vacancies, followed by general civil servants at 90,000 vacancies, military and uniformed personnel at 34,000 vacancies, and medical jobs at 14,000 vacancies.

In 2017, the House passed on 3rd and final reading House Bill 5707 or the Rightsizing the National Government Act.

Should the law be passed, redundant and overlapping functions in the executive branch will be removed while creating new positions needed in other agencies.  Rappler.com

$1 = P53.08

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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