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After Noy, P400,000 monthly salary for president eyed

President Aquino Photo by JOEY MENDOZA

MANILA, Philippines - The administration is planning to increase the salary of President Aquino’s successor from P120,000 to about P400,000 a month.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad told The STAR that under Malacañang’s new salary adjustment plan, government personnel with low salary grades would receive less, while those with high salary levels would get more.

“Those with low salary grades are receiving salaries that are already at par with the market. It is the higher grades that are far from the market,” Abad said.

By “market,” he said he meant comparing salaries in the government with those in the private sector.

There are 33 pay levels in the bureaucracy. Salary Grade 1 is the lowest and pays about P9,500 a month. Salary Grade 33 is the highest and pays P120,000 a month.

Abad said the President’s basic monthly salary of P120,000 is only about “30 percent of the market.”

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When told that making it at par with the market would mean increasing it more than three times or to about P400,000, he said, “But that is the salary of the country’s president.”

If the present Congress approves the salary adjustment plan and Aquino signs it into law, lawmakers and the President are prohibited by the Constitution from benefiting from it.

It would be Aquino’s successor who would receive the new rate.

Abad said the Cabinet would first approve the plan before it is sent to Congress.

He said the proposed P3.002-trillion 2016 national budget includes about P60 billion for the new round of salary increase for the more than one million government officials and employees.

Sen. Ralph Recto has proposed that the pay hike be focused on Salary Grades 11 to 13, or those receiving between P18,549 to P19,887 and P21,436 to P22,982 a month.

Recto said the bulk of state personnel are clustered around these three salary grades.

Salary Grade 11 is the entry-level pay rate in public schools. Government nurses also receive Salary Grade 11, although the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 provides that they should be getting Salary Grade 15.

Party-list group Ang Nars has filed a case with the Supreme Court (SC) to compel the government to follow the law.

Three years ago, the government completed a four-year pay adjustment program that saw bureaucrats’ salaries double. For instance, the President’s salary went up from P60,000 to P120,000 a month.

Members of Congress used to receive only P35,000 a month. They now get about P95,000, the same salary that Cabinet members are earning.

According to the Commission on Audit report on compensation for 2014, high-ranking government officials, including justices of the SC, Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals and Sandiganbayan, are receiving more than P1 million a year in basic pay.

There is no cap on how much allowances they get. In the case of the SC, the highest paid justice earned P6.5 million last year. Of that amount, only P1 million was in the form of basic salary. The rest represented allowances.

Without the planned new round of increase, taxpayers are shelling out more than P2 billion a day for government salaries.

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