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Calls to hike minimum wage of gov’t workers to P33K won’t be heeded for now

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
EDSA traffic
Slow-moving traffic and congestion on EDSA, a main thoroughfare across Metro Manila, as seen in January 2022, the second year of the pandemic.
Philstar.com / Deejae Dumlao

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management is closing its doors to increasing the minimum wage of government workers to P33,000 as it reasons that a salary hike is scheduled for next year anyway under the Salary Standardization Law 5.

“We are recognizing the calls of different sectors for a wage hike, but we still have RA 11466 or the SSL 5. That’s why when we enter the year 2023 and when we approve the General Appropriations Act, there will be a wage hike for all government workers,” DBM director Gerald Janda told DZBB on Saturday in Filipino.

The SSL 5 will provide all civilian government employees a bump to their wages for the fourth and final year on January 1, 2023. But the increase in the minimum wage is miniscule — just a 3.86% hike to P13,000 a month from P12,517.

Even with the additional P2,000 personal economic relief allowance that Janda said government workers will receive, the state’s minimum wage workers will only get P15,000 a month.

But Janda reiterated that there will be a review of government workers’ wages next year to check not only the competitiveness of their salaries compared with the pay in the private sector, but also the “reasonable level” the national budget can handle to pay for wages.

Government workers led by the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees and Kawani Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon, however, have said that this review is not enough.

"The present state of salaries and benefits of government workers requires more urgent and concrete response from the Bongbong Marcos administration,” said COURAGE Secretary General Manny Baclagon.

"We challenge President Marcos Jr. to walk the talk. For example, he can make executive issuances to increase present benefits being received now such as the Personnel Economic Relief Allowance, Special Relief Incentive, and Gratuity Pay for job orders and contract of service workers, aside from certifying as urgent the passage of bills to increase the inflation-eroded salaries of government workers."

Other labor groups outside of civil service have also called for wage hikes as prices of basic goods skyrocketed.

Partido Manggagawa called on Congress to increase the minimum wage by P100, while Kilusang Mayo Uno wanted to add P750 to the minimum wage. The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines also filed a petition before the National Capital Region-Regional Wages and Productivity Board for a P470 hike.

DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT

INFLATION

MINIMUM WAGE

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