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Drilon to DBM: Don’t take hostage pay hike for government workers

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Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon on Tuesday said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) should not hold “hostage” the salary increase for government employees, calling on the agency to implement the fourth tranche of salary adjustment immediately.

“The DBM does not have to wait for Congress to approve the 2019 General Appropriations Actbefore it implements the fourth tranche of the salary increase,” Drilon said in a statement.

“The non-passage of the 2019 national budget is a non-issue in the implementation of the salary increase because the money is there and the authorization is there,” he said.

Drilon backed House Majority Leader and former budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. who earlier insisted that “a delay in the 2019 budget’s approval would not affect the release of the funds for the salary hike of soldiers, policemen, teachers, and civilian employees of the government.”

“There is no law that the DBM will violate if it implements the increase because it is already specified in the resolution signed by then President Benigno S. Aquino III that the increase should be implemented in four tranches up to 2019,” Drilon said.

Drilon said that a reenacted budget could fund the salary increase.

In the event that the budget is not passed or delayed even further, Drilon said that the DBM could tap some excess funds in the Miscellaneous and Personnel Benefit Fund (MPBF), or the Congress can pass a supplemental budget to augment the budgetary requirement.

Drilon said that the salary increase of government workers should not be exploited nor used as a bargaining tool to put pressure on Congress, particularly the Senate, to rush the approval of the 2019 spending outlay.

“Given the controversies surrounding the proposed 2019 national budget, it behooves us in the Senate to really dig deeper and scrutinize each and every item in the budget,” Drilon pointed out.

The minority leader said the salary increase should be released particularly in the light of the implementation of the second tranche of the excise taxes on petroleum products, which may affect the prices of goods in the market.

“I appeal to the DBM to implement the last tranche of the salary increase to help our state workers cope with inflation,” he added.