SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go expressed his support for the proposed implementation of salary increases for public sector employees during the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC)’s presentation of the proposed 2024 National Expenditure Program (NEP) before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, August 15.
While the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) 6 is still pending legislation, Go lauded the finance managers of the current administration for preparing already the availability of fund sources for this endeavor.
Meanwhile, Go highlighted the importance of SSL 5, which was passed during the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte, as a response to the rising cost of living. The law was authored and co-sponsored by Go in 2019.
“This year is the last year of the implementation of Republic Act No. 11466 or the Salary Standardization 5. Ito po ‘yung pinasa natin nung Duterte Administration dahil na rin po sa pagtaas ng mga presyo ng bilihin, isinusulong natin na magkaroon po ng SSL 6 para tuluy-tuloy ang pag-increase ng sweldo ng ating mga civil servants,” said Go.
He emphasized the need for a seamless transition to SSL 6, asking Department of Budget and Management Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, “Kung sakaling ma-aprubahan po ito, ang SSL 6 ngayong taon, may sapat na budget po ba tayo para sa 2024? I heard na meron po kayong na-earmark na P16 billion for this.”
Pangandaman confirmed that there is an earmarked fund of P16.25 billion, but acknowledged the necessity of passing SSL 6 Law.
Go further inquired about the coverage of SSL 6 and the amount allocated for SSL 5 in 2020. Undersecretary Janet Abuel clarified, “About P33 billion po sa first tranche, but for the entire four tranches po, about P133 billion but that was allocated four years.”
Concerned if the P16 billion would be sufficient, Go asked, “So, ito pong P16 billion, is it enough?”
Pangandaman responded that it was still lacking but mentioned the possibility of accessing other compensation and lump sum funds.
“Kulang pa po. But we have po dun sa MPBF (Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund). Meron po kasing other compensation na lumpsum fund, pwede pa po s’yang gamitin. Pwede pong i-access ‘yung lumpsum fund na ‘yun if magkulang po yung P16.95 billion na yun,” she said.
Go then expressed readiness to work on the necessary legislation for the next salary increase for government employees.
Pangandaman assured Go that the Government Commission for GOCCs (Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation) study will have results by October.
Go expressed his gratitude on behalf of government workers, saying, “Maraming salamat po at inaabangan ito ng ating mga government workers.”
Go authored and co-sponsored SSL5 in 2019, which enabled the fifth round of salary increases for civilian government employees. He is now focusing on the future, actively exploring new opportunities to enhance support for the nation’s civil servants.