Three party-list representatives have called on Congress to ratify their bill seeking P33,000 minimum monthly pay for all government employees.
They are House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro of ACT Teachers, House Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas of Gabriela, and Raoul Manuel of the Kabataan party-list.
The three legislators, who form the so-called Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives. filed House Bill 6560, which mandates the P33,000 minimum monthly pay for state workers.
“We filed this because we want to peg the Salary Grade 1 to P33,000 which is based on a family living wage. Even a number of government employees are hard pressed to make do with a P13,000 a month under the existing Salary Grade 1. That is even behind the minimum wage for the National Capital Region at P570 (a day),” Castro said at a news conference.
”Kaya napapanahon, nararapat at reasonable na talagang ito ang asikasuhin ng ating Kongreso, itong pagtataas ng sweldo ng ating government employees Isinusulong ito ng Makabayan para magbigay talaga ng malaking alwan sa ating mga government employees. Tuloy ang laban ng mga government employees para sa nakabubuhay at disenteng sweldo para sa kanila at sa kanilang pamilya,” she added.
The bill’s proponents noted that under the existing Salary Standardization law, the lowest-paid
employee in the civil service will only be given a meager salary increase of P1,932 increase (from P11,068 to P13,000 per month) to be delivered in four tranches of P483 per month.
“This translates to a measly P21.95 per day increase which is much lower compared to the P25 increase in minimum wage in the NCR in 2018. This is, historically, the lowest pay hike for government employees,” the authors said.
“The P 13,000 monthly gross salary for Salary Grade 1 by the year 2023 is way below the family living wage for a family of five pegged at P 1,119 per day or P33,570 per month,” they added.
They also cited the case of middle-level employees, including teachers who comprise the majority in the civilian bureaucracy, who will only receive P27,000 a month (Salary Grade 11) in 2023 under the existing law.
“The teachers are frequently told that their only problem is poor financial management. But what is there to manage when those supposed finances are quickly drained away by taxes, by their basic needs that grow more and more expensive every day,” the authors pointed out.
”In the case of some employees like teachers, nurses, and doctors…even the work-related expenses that should have been provided by the government in the first place have also been increasing,” they added.
They also said then President Rodrigo Duterte doubled the base pay of entry-level uniformed personnel in 2018 to P29,668 per month from a monthly rate of P14,834 which means the government has money to spare for state employees who are just as competent and deserving.
“It is the height of injustice that other public employees who are fulfilling just as much duties for the public are not given the salaries rightfully due to them,” the group said.