IF the Department of Budget and Management can allow the release of salary increase for the local government units (LGUs) and government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), state workers should be similarly benefited.
This is according to House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya as he continued assailing Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno for putting on hold the salary adjustment for state workers until the 2019 proposed national budget is approved.
Reports said the DBM allowed the release of the last tranche of the salary increase under Salary Standardization Law IV to LGU and GOCC employees.
“LGUs have their own budget hence can go ahead with fourth tranche. Their IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment) is automatically appropriated,” the Budget chief explained.
“For government corporations, they can also pay for the fourth tranche provided their corporate budget, which is independent of the general appropriations act, has been approved by their respective boards,” Diokno said.
“Kung gusto ni Sec. Diokno, puwede pala niyang ipa-release ang salary increase under SSL IV. Nagawa na niya ito ngayon sa LGUs at GOCC. Bakit di niya magawa sa iba pang offices?” Andaya said.
The House leader said he got hold of the two DBM Circulars, which authorize the LGUs and GOCCs to release the fourth tranche of the wage hike to their employees under the Salary Standardization Law.
The DBM Circulars— Local Budget Circular No. 118 and Corporate Budget Circular No. 23— were both signed by Sec. Diokno on 15 January 2019, which both took effect on 1 January 2019.
“The twin circulars only mean that what we are saying is true all along. It is the DBM that has the tools to implement the salary increases even under a reenacted budget,” Andaya said.
“Sec. Diokno can use these tools to release the salary increase for other civil servants in the executive, legislative and judicial branches as well as in constitutional offices. Sec. Diokno is just taking these employees hostage in a desperate bid to force Congress to approve his pet projects the soonest time possible,” he added.
Andaya told Diokno that there is no basis for the delay in the release and disbursement of funds as there are available alternative sources of funds for the fourth tranche of personnel benefits.
He cited two alternatives for the DBM to cover for the P42.7 billion necessary for the fourth tranche of increases: the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund and the savings from the 2018 budget.
The MPBF currently has P99.446 billion, which is “allowed to be used for payments of personal benefits, such as deficiencies in authorized salaries, bonuses, allowances, associated premiums and other similar personnel benefits of national government personnel, among others.”
At least P75 billion from the MPBF fund is allotted for “payment of compensation adjustment” and “funding requirements for staffing modifications and upgrading and salaries,” which could be used by the DBM for the fourth tranche of salary increases.
Only P42,705,911,000 is needed by the DBM to fund the fourth tranche salary increase and adjustment for the year 2019, when it has a total amount of P99,446,295,000 in the MPBF.
Even if DBM simply uses the P75,169,215,000 covering allocations for compensation adjustment and salary upgrades, it is still more than the required P42 billion requirements for the fourth tranche salary increase and adjustments.
In fact, even if DBM wishes to use the proposed 2019 GAA for MPBF, which amounts to P51,575,607,000, it can still cover the required amount for salary increase and adjustment.
Also, the DBM may get just one-fourth of the required funding for the fourth tranche of about P10.676 billion to cover for the first three months of 2019 considering that the 2019 GAA may still be passed within the first quarter of the year 2019.
“Palagi kong sinasabi kay Sec. Diokno: Kung gusto, may paraan. Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan,” he added.