By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV urged the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to look for ways to deliver the government’s obligation to increase the salary of its workers instead of resorting to delaying tactics.
“Kung ayaw may dahilan, kung gusto may paraan, (If they don’t want to do it, they will come up with excuses, but if they really want to do it, they’ll come up with something),” Aquino said in a statement.
Aquino, at the same time, renewed his call to the DBM to use the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) for the salary hike of government workers. He earlier filed a Senate resolution formalizing the Senate’s call for this purpose.
The senator insisted that the DBM is authorized to release and pay the salary increase immediately, without the need for further approval from Congress.
“Delay is not an option. The Budget Department should find ways to deliver on its duty to implement the fourth tranche of salary increase for public servants,” he stressed.
He pointed out that the MPBF is enough to cover the first month of the fourth and final part of the salary increase for government workers under the Salary Standardization Law (SSL).
In the 2018 budget, the MPBF is close to P100-billion while the salary increase requirement for January 2019 is less than P5-billion.
“We are not asking DBM to fund the whole year but just to give the first tranche of the salary increase while we wait for the Senate to pass the 2019 national budget before the end of January,” Aquino said.
Aquino added the salary increase could ease the burden of Tuesday’s oil price hike due to increase in world oil prices that could lead to further rise in prices of goods.
“I hope the DBM would not let government workers wait. The salary increase will greatly help our government workers cope with the increases in oil and prices of commodities,” he said.
Apart from Aquino, fellow opposition senators—Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Antonio Trillanes IV, Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros – signed Senate Resolution No. 982.