Palace blames Congress for failure to release state workers' salary hike
Congress is the one holding hostage the salary increase of over one million state workers due to its failure to pass the 2019 budget, Malacanang said on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., along with other government employees, filed a petition for mandamus before the Supreme Court to compel the Department of Budget and Management to release the fourth and last tranche of the salary hike of government workers.
"The one holding hostage would be Congress, not Executive Department," he said in a press briefing.
Panelo said the Palace supports the position of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno that the last tranche of the salary hike could only be released once the proposed P3.757 trillion General Appropriations Act is passed by both Houses of Congress.
"Yes, because what will be your basis? Where will you get the money? But as soon as the budget is enacted, that's precisely why we're urging graciously House of Representatives to finish, as well as the Senate, to approve the budget," said Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel.
Assistant Budget Secretary Myrna Chua said the government needs over P40 billion to cover the salary hike of about 1.3 million state workers.
“All (government) jobs are covered by the Salary Standardization Law. There are some GOCCs (government-owned or -controlled corporations) covered also by the SSL. Our estimate is around P45 to P50 billion,” she said in a press briefing at the DBM office in Manila.
In the same press briefing, Diokno stood firm that the salary hike would only be given once the new budget is approved.
The government is operating under the 2018 re-enacted budget due to the failure of Congress to pass the General Appropriations Bill before the Christmas break last December.
The fourth and last tranche of the salary increase is covered by Executive Order 201 signed by former President Benigno Aquino in 2016.
Andaya, a former budget secretary, and other petitioners said even without the 2019 GAA, the DBM could have alternative sources of fund, such as the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Funds and savings from the 2018 GAA. Celerina Monte/DMS