MANILA – The reenactment of the Philippine budget would not prevent the implementation of the fourth tranche of salary increases for government employees but President Rodrigo Duterte must first sign an executive order (EO) for this, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.
According to DBM officer-in-charge Janet Abuel, Duterte would have to sign an EO to provide additional funds for the fourth tranche of salary increases as a reenacted budget would not be enough for this.
“Unfortunately, if you have a reenacted budget, of course the reenacted budget would not be sufficient to cover the entire year, so that might need some additional recommendations for funding,” she explained.
The Philippines is currently operating on a reenacted budget, as the Senate and House of Representatives have yet to agree on specific items included in the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The Salary Standardization Law states that the monthly salary of entry-level personnel in the teaching profession, or Teacher 1, will increase to P20,754 this year from P20,179.
“Initially, the worry of our civil servants will be how will the fourth tranche be affected if we don’t have the budget, but we’re also ready for that,” said Abuel.
“Definitely we would like to allay the fears of the government employees that the reenactment would not prevent the grant, but that would require an EO to be issued by the President,” she elaborated.
Abuel noted, however, that the DBM is currently holding back its proposed EO as the agency awaits the passage of the 2019 budget, which would already cover the salary increases.
“The DBM has already recommended, but we are holding because we are hoping for the reenactment of the 2019 GAA,” said Abuel.
Former Budget secretary and now Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Benjamin Diokno in January said that the scheduled wage hike for this year may only be implemented once the 2019 budget is passed into law.
The fourth tranche, according to the DBM, will cost the government some P40 to P50 billion to be able to cover government employees across the country.
Duterte earlier this week said he would “not sign anything illegal,” amid allegations that the P3.757-trillion proposed budget for the year favored allies of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya earlier this year also threatened to sue Diokno if the DBM fails to implement the salary hike.
“Sue me,” Diokno said in response to Andaya’s threats. (GMA News)