MANILA, Philippines – About P58 billion is included in the 2016 national budget for the planned salary increase of 1.5 million government personnel.
Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, chair of the House of Representatives appropriations committee, yesterday said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), which recommended the pay hike, sought P51 billion for next year.
“We augmented it by P7 billion because the total requirement for the first-year implementation of the four-year salary adjustment program is P58 billion,” he explained.
He said the plan was for the increase to take effect on Friday, the start of the New Year.
The House and the Senate failed to finally approve the bill containing the pay hike plan on Dec. 16, the last session day of Congress for 2015.
A last-minute hitch arose when senators reconsidered the approval of their own version of the measure to allow Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile to introduce some amendments.
Enrile proposed that the pension of retirees from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) be indexed to the increased salaries of government officials and employees.
Military and police retirees were not included in the DBM proposal, which the House adopted and approved.
The House and the Senate would now have to resolve their differences when they reconvene on Jan. 19, 2016.
Ungab said the earliest the two chambers could approve the planned salary increase would be in the third week of January.
“That is, if we could agree on a common version, which I think is a most likely eventuality,” he added.
The DBM estimates that the pay hike program would cost P226 billion over four years: P57.906 billion in 2016, P54.393 billion in 2017, P65.976 billion in 2018 and P47.544 billion in 2019.
However, Sen. Ralph Recto estimates that taxpayers would have to shell out more than twice as much for the increase.
Recto reckons that if the first-year cost is P58 billion, then the minimum total appropriations needed up to 2019 would be P232 billion.
SOURCE: PHILIPPINE STAR