House panel OKs pay hike for gov't workers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 16 2019 01:01 PM | Updated as of Dec 16 2019 01:02 PM

MANILA - The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee approved Monday the proposed Salary Standardization Law 5 which seeks to increase wages of government workers, particularly teachers.

The committee report is expected to be tackled in plenary session Monday afternoon in a bid to submit it to President Rodrigo Duterte before Christmas, according to committee chair Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab.

The President in October vowed to increase the salary of public school teachers.

"We expect that the Office of the President might issue a certificate of urgency anytime after ma-file 'yung committee report sa plenary mamaya," he said.

When a bill is certified as urgent, there is no need to wait for the 3-day period between the second and third readings before it gets passed.

ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, however, believes the measure that the committee approved is not enough, especially for teachers.

“'Yung salary grade 1 which is now kasi P11,000, pagdating ng 2023 magiging P13,000 na sobrang liit. In-appeal na namin ito nung last time na salary," she said.

"Sobra namang napakabarat nitong proposal na ito ng DBM (Department of Budget and Management) at ng liderato ng House."

Ungab defended the bill, saying it was based on a study done by the DBM.

"We believe that the DBM recommendation is okay. We are approving it at the committee level and we will be recommending it at the plenary maybe this afternoon," he said.

Castro also scored the bill for not giving equal treatment for those working in some towns. 

"Mananatili dito sa bill na ito 'yung tinatawag nating segregation pa rin according to class municipality," she said.

"Gusto sana natin ma-correct ito at ma-equalize due to may principle kasi equal work for equal pay. 'Yung salary grade 1 dito sa NCR mas maliit sa salary grade 1 halimbawa sa Tawi Tawi or doon sa Samar so 'yun 'yung ibig natin sabihin na pantay pantay na.”

But even then the appropriations panel conceded it is limited by government’s resources. 

“Kung kaya lang bigay ang mataas, why not? Ang problema we also have limited funds for next year," Ungab said.

The Senate will also tackle the proposed measure this week, according to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

--Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News