By Chino Leyco and Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Government workers may expect higher take-home pay next month as the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) estimates that Congress would pass into law the 2019 appropriations in early February.
Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said Friday that the delayed fourth tranche of salary adjustments will be implemented next month after legislators promised that they will prioritize the 2019 General Appropriations Act upon the resumption of their sessions next week.
Diokno also assured that government employees will be entitled to their salary differential.
“With pronouncements from Congress that budget bill will be their top priority upon resumption next week, we expect the GAA to be signed first week February,” Diokno said in a statement.
The DBM earlier deferred the implementation of the pay hike until the 2019 GAA, which Congress failed to pass before the end of last year, is legislated.
Likewise, Diokno said that an additional salary hike for government workers is scheduled in 2020.
Diokno said the Governance Commission For GOCCs (GCG) is contracting an independent firm to conduct a study on the wage structure of government workers vis-a-vis their private sector counterparts.
The DBM will be utilizing this data to craft a new salary schedule for government workers to be implemented starting 2020, he said.
Funding for the conduct of the study has already been allocated to the agency budget of the GCG for FY 2019.
Currently, the GCG is conducting Early Procurement for the independent researcher so they may proceed with the conduct of the study as soon as the 2019 General Appropriations Act is passed.
Results from the study are expected to be delivered by the independent firm before end of June this year. Consequently, the DBM will come out with a proposed salary schedule by the 3rd quarter of 2019.
276 new schools affected
Meanwhile, due to the failure of Congress to pass the 2019 budget, a total of 276 newly-established public schools will be operating without budget, the Department of Education revealed.
DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Annalyn Sevilla said DepEd needs a budget of P93, 617, 000 for 2019 for these new schools to operate.
DepEd along with other government agencies will be operating on a reenacted budget until the 2019 National Expenditure Program (NEP) is approved.
Since the said schools are newly-established, there were no funds allocated for them in 2018. Due to the delay of the passage of the 2019 budget, DepEd said a total of 111 newly-established schools, 153 public schools converted into integrated schools, and 12 annexes that were separated from their main campuses will be affected.
But Sevilla assured the operation of these schools will not be disrupted despite lack of funding. “We’re taking immediate measures to help them [because] we cannot ask the schools to stop operating,” she said. “There will be fund sources to cover the operations of newly established schools,” she added.
DepEd is reportedly in constant coordination with the DBM to ensure that the operation of these schools will not be disrupted and its teachers and learners will not be affected. Currently, these schools without budget get their funds from various sources like the DepEd division offices where they are located.