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Senate expedites Php 67-billion salary hike bill for public school teachers, non-teach staffs, state workers – Drilon

(File photo) President Benigno S. Aquino III is received by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and Senate President Franklin Drilon upon arrival for his sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) during the Joint Session of the 16th Congress at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on Monday (July 27). (Photo by Robert Vinas / Joseph Vidal / Malacañang Photo Bureau)

The Senate is already fine-tuning the proposed salary increase for public elementary and secondary school teachers for 2016 which is included in the Php 435.9-billion budget for the Department of Education (DepEd).

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said this Thursday in an interview with DZRH News through Neil Ocampo’s “ACS Balita” segment. He also said the DepEd budget is part of the Php 3 trillion national budget.

Drilon said one of the beautiful features of the 2016 budget allocation is the Php 67-billion merit increases and across-the-board salary adjustment of all 1.3 million government employees, including the public elementary and secondary school teachers and non-teaching staff.

The Ilonggo lawmaker said the proposed merit and salary increase for all government workers including the public school teachers takes effect January 1, 2016.

Drilon said when they are done with the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) IV draft, the Senate will send it over to Malacañang for approval by President Benigno C. Aquino III. “Php 50 billion all in all are included in the raise plus Php 17 billion are allotted for the merit increases for a total of Php 67 billion allocated for government workers,” he said.

The Department of Education (DepEd) has the biggest budget of Php 435.9 billion according to Drilon. This intended for more classrooms, textbook and school supplies, hiring of new teachers and new scholarship programs for deserving high school students amounting Php 21.2 billion.

Drilon said the SSL IV is not a pork barrel, “President Aquino is closely monitoring the salary increase of the state workers. There is a need to increase the salaries of the government employees.”

On the issue of underspending, the state economic managers will adopt measures to speed up the expenditures.

“Twenty percent of our economy relies on government spending on salaris, infrastructures and health services,” Drilon said.

The national government is setting aside P50.6 billion in the proposed 2016 national budget for the salary hike of its 1.3 million workers, details of which will be fleshed out in a bill the Palace will later send to Congress.

Although the Palace is still mum on the bill’s particulars, Sen. Ralph Recto said that the money being sought for the pay hike “translates into an average P3,000 monthly increase per employee.”

Recto arrived at the figure by dividing the proposed P50.6 billion by 1,295,056 employees in the government payroll and using 13 compensable months in a year.

“I think a P3,000 average per month increase is the floor being sought. And I have to stress the fact that I am using an average here. It may not also be uniform kasi iba-iba ang rates ng sweldo, Recto said.

“Secondly, I am assuming a January starting date. So if the increase would take effect July, then we’re looking at an average P6,000 monthly adjustment. Kaya nga maraming variables,” Recto said.

Recto added that it is also possible that the mulled pay hike in 2016 “may just be the first installment of a bigger pay adjustment that will be implemented in phases.”

He recalled that in the initial implementation of Salary Standardization Law (SSL) III, the public sector pay guide in current use was spread out over four years.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad confirmed before senators today that his agency is drafting an SSL IV based on a commissioned study on the state of public sector pay.

Government employees such as Police Officer 1, Teacher 1, Firemen 1 are mostly clustered around the Salary Grade 11 to 13 brackets with a basic monthly pay of between Php 18,549 to Php 21,436.

Presently, the government’s “Compensation and Position Classification System” has 33 salary grades. Except for Grade 33, which is occupied by one person, the President, each salary grade has eight steps. (Joel C. Atencio)

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