March 16, 2019
Scheduled salary hikes for state workers can be implemented despite a budget impasse but the executive order (EO) governing the adjustments needs to be amended.
In a statement on Friday, the Budget department said it would need to prepare a contingency plan to fund the fourth tranche of adjustments under the Salary Standardization Law given Congress’ failure to pass the 2019 national budget.
“Should the impasse continue further with the delayed passage of the 2019 National Budget, the Department of Budget and Management has recommended the amendment of Executive Order No. 201 to the Office of the President,” the department said.
EO 201, issued by then-President Benigno Aquino 3rd in 2016, states that funding for the adjustments would be subject to appropriations approved by Congress.
Changes to the order, the Budget department said, will authorize government agencies to utilize available appropriations under the re-enacted budget to fund the pay hikes.
“With this measure, the long overdue compensation hike that our public servants have been looking forward to can finally be granted,” it added.
Former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who was recently appointed central bank chief, repeatedly cited the EO in insisting that Congress approve a new national budget.
While lawmakers have already ratified reconciled version of the 2019 budget bill, the measure has yet to be transmitted to Malacañang given the Senate’s claims that the House of Representatives made post-bicameral conference committee changes.
A meeting arranged by President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday failed to resolve the impasse and Duterte was said to have told House leaders that he would not sign the proposed General Appropriations Act if it was not endorsed by the Senate.
The Budget department, in the statement, reiterated that Congress should pass the 2019 national budget “as soon as possible to end the country’s fiscal uncertainty and deliver the infrastructure projects and social services that the Filipino people are counting on.”
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