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Andaya asks SC to compel Diokno to release gov’t workers pay hike

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House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday to compel the release of the fourth tranche of pay hike of state workers ahead of the approval of the 2019 national budget or the reenactment of the 2018 budget.

In a 28-page petition, Andaya, who led the scrutiny of the Palace’s budget proposal, urged the SC to hand down a mandamus writ directing the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release the scheduled salary increase for government workers amounting to at least PHP42.7 billion.

Joining Andaya in the petition are employees from the Bureau of Immigration, Department of Justice, and House of Representatives.

Andaya added that there is no basis for the DBM to withhold the release of funds since there are available alternative sources for the pay hike despite the delay in the passage of the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA) or the reenactment of the 2018 budget.

The petitioners noted that the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund,
with a total amount of P99.44 billion, may be used to cover the salary
adjustment for the fourth tranche.

“The use of the MPBF [Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund] is not merely a novel or theoretical idea crafted by herein petitioners. In fact, Section 46 of 2018 GAA allows the use of MPBF since the law instructs the executive department that it may use funds appropriated for Personnel Services for the payment of personnel benefits,” they added.

The petitioners also claimed that the DBM used the MPBF for the increase of the salary of the country’s uniformed personnel in January 2018.

They added that the reenactment of the 2018 GAA generates savings which can be used to fund the fourth tranche of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL).

“In sum, given the above arguments and in the unlikely as highly improbable scenario that the MPBF be insufficient to fund or be ineligible as a source of fund for the fourth tranche of the salary adjustments under E.O. 201, an alternative source of funds is available in the form of savings generated from the 2018 GAA,” the petitioners argued.

DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno previously deferred the release the funds for the fourth round of salary adjustments as provided under Executive order No. 201 (Modifying the Salary Schedule for Civilian Government Personnel and Authorizing the Grant of Additional Benefits for Both Civilian and Military Uniformed Personnel) starting January 2019. (PNA)

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