Gov’t workers’ pay hike hangs pending 2019 budget approval

Diokno - Business World

MANILA — Government workers have to wait for the approval of the proposed PHP3.757-trillion 2019 national budget before they can enjoy the fourth and last tranche of the Salary Standardization Law of 2015 (SSL).

This, as the government is now operating on a re-enacted budget pending lawmakers’ approval of this year’s proposed budget.

Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that “government authorities cannot spend on items not authorized by Congress.”

He explained the last tranche of the SSL “is part of the 2019 President’s Budget, not 2018 Budget.”

“Congress has to approve the 2019 budget before government workers can avail of the 4th tranche,” he said, pointing out that “the re-enacted budget is a second-best option provided for in the Constitution.” The best option is the approval of the proposed allocation.

“This is better than what is happening in the US where the government partially shuts down because Congress failed to pass the budget on time,” he said, adding that US’s Constitution does not have a clause for the re-enactment of the government’s budget.

On Thursday, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said state agencies that are receiving allotment or Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) from DBM are authorized to obligate their actual budget requirements for the first quarter this year.

Diokno expressed hope that the re-enacted budget will only be in the first three months of the year.

He stressed that “the sooner the 2019 GAA (Government Appropriation Act) is passed, the better for the economy and the Filipino people.”

“Ramping up our investments on infrastructure and social services will only be sustainable if the budget is authorized by Congress,” he said.

“We will do what we can to minimize the damage to the Philippine economy, particularly public construction,” he added. (PNA)