By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
As the government continues to operate on a reenacted budget, President Duterte has issued Executive Order (EO) No. 76 which ensures that government workers will get the last and fourth tranche of the salary hike.
In his EO signed March 15, Duterte ordered that the necessary funds for the salary hike be taken from any available appropriations under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for fiscal year (FY) 2018, which will be identified by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
“The funding requirements for the compensation adjustment in FYs 2017, 2018 and 2019 will be included in the proposed annual National Expenditure Program submitted to Congress for its approval,” the EO read.
“Pending the enactment of the FY 2019 GAA, the funding requirements for the compensation adjustment for FY 2019 shall be charged against any available appropriations under the FY 2018 GAA, as reenacted, to be determined by the DBM, subject to existing budgeting, accounting, and auditing rules and regulation,” it furthered.
The DBM, on the other hand, is authorized to implement or adjust the compensation corresponding to the appropriations provided in the GAA.
Section 11 of EO No. 201 series of 2016 provides that the fourth tranche salary schedule for civilian government personnel shall be implemented by the first day of 2019. It is said that it will be funded by the FY 2019 GAA.
In signing the EO, Duterte cited that the Congress is yet to submit the proposed 2019 budget; thus prompting the reenactment of the budget for the previous year.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that President Duterte signed the EO to put an end to the long wait of government workers for their salary increase.
“The President does not want to prolong the overdue salary increase that our public servants, who have been working tirelessly and silently for the last two months, have been looking forward to,” he said.
Panelo then renewed their calls to the Congress to settle their differences and think of the public’s welfare.
“We reiterate our vigorous call to the two chambers of Congress to end this impasse on the budget with dispatch that the GAB (General Appropriations Bill) may finally be transmitted for PRRD’s review and approval to assist this government better the lives of our countrymen and help the nation move forward,” he said.
The proposed 2019 budget is still up in the air as the Senate and the House of Representatives still cannot agree on it due the allegations of pork barrel insertions and realignment.
Senators are alleging that millions of pesos were realigned from the Department of Health (DOH) to favored congressmen. Members of the House of Representatives, however, are denying the allegations.
Despite recognizing that a reenacted budget will have its adverse effects on the country’s gross domestic product and infrastructure projects, Duterte said that he will not sign anything that will turn out to be an illegal document. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)