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No 2019 budget, no pay hike

Diokno: No legal basis to implement wage increase for state workers

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By Chino Leyco

State workers should not expect any salary increase for now.

On Wednesday, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will not release the scheduled wage increase for government workers unless Congress approves the much-delayed 2019 national budget.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno (KEVIN ESPIRITU / MANILA BULLETIN)

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno
(KEVIN ESPIRITU / MANILA BULLETIN)

Diokno said they have no legal basis to implement the scheduled wage increase without the approved 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA) that Congress failed to pass before the end of last year.

The law enacting budget appropriations is the only legal basis they have to implement the fourth tranche of salary adjustments for state workers, Diokno said.

“The DBM cannot implement the scheduled hike for 2019 without legal basis, which is still pending in Congress,” Diokno told reporters.

Even President Duterte has no legal authority to implement the pay hike without the 2019 GAA, the budget chief said.

Earlier, House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. warned that he will sue DBM if the department will not implement the salary increase on January 15 this year, which Diokno just shrugged off.

He explained that Executive Order 201, series of 2016, explicitly stated that the salary adjustment is “subject to appropriations by Congress.”

Diokno, however, assured that the fourth tranche of salary adjustment will be implemented as soon as the 2019 budget is passed and will be applied retroactively from January 1, 2019. In effect, government employees will receive salary differentials within the year.

Meanwhile, Diokno said the government is planning to introduce additional salary adjustments during the last three-years of the Duterte administration, but the details will still be fine-tuned.

Diokno said the goal is to make government wages to be at par with those at the private sector.

“We are going to hire a third party to study the wage structure at this time for the 2020 to 2022 salary adjustment,” Diokno said. “What we are doing now is that what will be the salary structure of the private sector, we will compare our salary structure.”

 

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