BUDGET Secretary Benjamin Diokno has been reminded that the money he is managing is not his but belongs to the people and therefore should be given to whom it is due.
Responding to Diokno’s statement regarding the possible delay in the release of the salary adjustment, House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said there is no reason for the secretary to put on hold the release of the salary adjustment this month.
“Secretary Diokno should stop treating the national budget as his personal kitty. Hindi niya pera ito. Pera ito ng mamamayan,” Andaya said.
Earlier, Diokno warned that the delay in the approval of the national budget will also postpone the issuance of the last and final tranche of the Salary Standardization Law.
But the House and Senate are still in the process of scrutinizing the proposed 2019 national budget amounting to P3.767 trillion.
According to Andaya, Congress will not rush the passage of the budget because they want it clear and clean of corruption and insertions.
The last tranche of the salary adjustment for teacher, police, military and other government personnel should take effect starting January 15.
“Our civil servants deserve the salary increase due them this year. Pay them now, not later. Kailangan ng mga kababayan natin ang bawat pisong ayuda na maibibigay ng gobyerno,” Andaya said.
“If he is too proud to take an advice from a congressman like me, then maybe the same advice but this time from the Senate would do the trick,” he added.
Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has taken a stand similar to Andaya’s.
Andaya reminded Diokno that there is a law authorizing the salary increases for government workers until 2019. Aside from this, President Duterte has signed Joint Resolution No. 3 extending the PS and CO of the 2018 budget until the end of year 2019.
“As Sen. Drilon correctly pointed out, the DBM does not have to wait for Congress to approve the 2019 General Appropriations Act before it implements the 4th tranche of the salary increase,” Andaya stressed.
The non-passage of the 2019 national budget is a non-issue in the implementation of the salary increase because the money is there and the authorization is there.
“Kung may galit si Sec. Diokno sa Kongreso dahil sa ginagawang imbestigasyon sa kanya at sa kanyang pamilya, huwag naman sana niyang idamay ang mga government workers natin. Spare them from your wrath, Mr. Secretary,” the House leader said.
“The fund releases from DBM are governed by laws and rules. They are not personal accounts that can be released or withheld based on the whims and caprices of the DBM Secretary,” Andaya also said.
The solon then hit Diokno for giving huge amount of projects to a favored province.
“Bakit kapag pondo sa Casiguran at Sorsogon, ang bilis maglabas ng pondo ni Sec. Diokno? Bakit kapag suweldo para sa government workers, makupad pa sa pagong?
“Totoo po ang kasabihan, Mr. Secretary. Kapag gusto, may paraan. Kapag ayaw, maraming dahilan,” Andaya said.