This is the fourth and last tranche of the salary standardization for government workers.
Boy Santos
Andaya threatens legal action if gov’t pay hike stalled
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - January 9, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. threatened yesterday to press for the implementation of the salary increase for government employees if the Department of Budget of Management (DBM) will delay it due to the non-passage of the proposed 2019 budget.

Andaya and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the DBM cannot hold the fourth tranche of salary increase hostage using Congress’ failure to pass the budget as excuse.

“I will personally file a case for mandamus (a petition to compel) in the Supreme Court if the Department of Budget and Management will not implement the salary increase by Jan. 15,” Andaya said.

Andaya and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno have been at loggerheads over allegations of insertions in the 2019 budget reaching P75 billion, which Andaya described as a “flood control scam” that allegedly favored Diokno’s in-laws. 

Diokno denied Andaya’s allegations, saying only “adjustments” were done and not insertions. 

“Diokno is using every trick in the book to rush the Senate and the House into approving his pet projects. Now, the DBM is using scare tactics, warning that a delay in the budget’s approval will affect the release of the funds for the salary hike,” Andaya said. 

This is the fourth and last tranche of the salary standardization for government workers. 

“My advice to Diokno… The DBM has all the tools in pushing through with the salary increases this year,” the former budget secretary stressed.

“Let me refresh the good secretary’s memory. The first round of salary increase for uniformed personnel in 2018 happened without a specific budget for it. The increase was not included in the 2018 budget proposal,” Andaya said.

Considering that the cash budget proposal this year is the same as last year, then a reenacted budget covers the needed funding for the salary increases.

“The President’s decision to extend the 2018 budget also gives DBM more spending authority,” he said. 

“If Secretary Diokno forgot how he did it, I invite him over lunch to explain how to do it. In case he is too proud to take advice from a congressman, then we might just see each other in court,” Andaya said.

Think of state workers

For his part, Drilon appealed to the DBM to implement the last tranche of salary increase to “help our state workers cope with inflation.”

Drilon said the salary increase should be released, particularly in the light of the implementation of the second tranche of the excise taxes on petroleum products, which may affect the prices of goods in the market.

He said the salary increase of government workers should not be exploited nor used as a bargaining tool to put pressure on Congress, particularly the Senate, to rush the approval of the 2019 spending outlay. 

“Given the controversies surrounding the proposed 2019 national budget, it behooves us in the Senate to really dig deeper and scrutinize each and every item in the budget,” Drilon said.

He said Congress’ failure to pass the proposed 2019 national budget is “a non-issue in the implementation of the salary increase because the money is there and the authorization is there.”

The Senate and the House of Representatives have yet to come up with a final version of the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

This was due to the delay in the House’s submission of the proposed budget last year that left the Senate very little time to scrutinize it before Congress went on a break last Dec. 15.

Congress will resume session on Monday and senators vowed to pass the budget proposal in two weeks. 

Until the proposed national appropriations bill is signed into law, the government will continue to operate on the “reenacted” 2018 GAA. 

Drilon backed Andaya who earlier insisted that “a delay in the 2019 budget’s approval would not affect the release of the funds for the salary hike of soldiers, policemen, teachers and civilian employees of the government.”

The senator said there is no law the DBM will violate if it implements the increase because it is already specified in the resolution signed by then president Benigno Aquino III that the increase should be implemented in four tranches up to 2019.

He said the reenacted budget could fund the salary increase. 

In the event the budget is not passed or delayed even further, he said that the DBM could tap some excess funds in the Miscellaneous and Personnel Benefit Fund, or Congress can pass a supplemental budget to augment the budgetary requirement. – With Paolo Romero, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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