TAGBILARAN CITY, BOHOL: President Benigno Aquino 3rd is not considering any proposal to increase the salaries of government employees.
Speaking to reporters, Aquino explained that incumbent officials cannot enact laws that will benefit themselves. Also, the President admitted that another salary increase may hurt the government’s fiscal position.
Such a measure will have to be effective only after his term ends, he added.
“So if that bill becomes a law, I signed it into law, I cannot benefit from it. The members of Congress who will also authorize it are not also entitled until they finish their terms,” the President said.
He said it has always been the dream of his administration to make government pay competitive like it is in Singapore, but there are budgetary constraints.
“Singapore is able to hire really very good people primarily because the public sector salaries are almost 80 percent of the private sector counterparts,” Aquino said.
“ Should we support that? It’s our dream. But can we realize it,” the President asked.
He stressed that he didn’t want to be a Scrooge but will not make a promise he cannot keep.
“From a politician’s perspective, and I am also a politician, I think if I have one reputation with our people it’s that I do not lie. I will not give false promises,” He added said.
“I am more inclined to other incentives rather than cash,” the President added.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, an ally of Aquino, proposed Salary Standardization Law 4 that would facilitate a competitive compensation and position classification for civil servants, military and uniformed personnel.
Under the proposed legislation, the President’s salary will be raised to P1 million from the current P120,000 a month. Cabinet secretaries may also see an increase in their monthly salaries.
The bill also seeks to increase the base pay of the lowest government rank, Job Grade 1, to P16,000 from present P9,000. The highest government rank will get a base pay raise to P500,000 from the current P120,000.
In a statement, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that Aquino has directed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to conduct a “thorough review” of the government compensation system and “ascertain the budgetary implications” of implementing salary increases across the entire public sector.
Quoting Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Coloma said that the President likewise instructed the DBM to “determine the impact of the recently completed third tranche of the Salary Standardization Law on the compensation structure of the government, especially in comparison with the private sector.”
Meanwhile, Coloma said that the government will continue to implement performance-based incentives that will give “due recognition” to employees who render “exemplary and dedicated service to our people.”
“While the executive branch recognizes the legislature’s prerogative to propose a new salary standardization law, this also needs to be vetted at Cabinet level in terms of its rationale and its budget implications,” he said.
Coloma added that “preparations are already underway for the submission of the national expenditure program for 2015 and that Congress will commence hearings on the national budget sometime in August.”