STATE workers can look forward to another salary increase next year as well as a new round of performance-based bonus.
The government will allot P50.6 billion in the P1 trillion proposed 2016 national budget for the salary adjustment and an additional P16.8 billion for the incentive bonus.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said a proposal for the wage increase is still being finalized.
“We still have not put together a proposal based on a recently completed compensation and benefits survey that we will have to take up with the President and the Cabinet,” the budget secretary told members of the Senate finance committee.
The wage adjustment will be implemented under the Salary Standardization Law.
Senate President pro tempore Ralph Recto noted that the setting aside of P50.6 billion could translate into an average of P3,000 monthly increase for each government employee.
Recto came up with the amount by dividing the proposed P50.6 billion by the total number of employees in the government payroll.
“I think a P3,000 average per month increase is the floor being sought. And I have to stress the fact that I am using an average here. It may not also be uniform because of the varying salary rates,” he explained.
The senator added that it is possible that the planned salary adjustment in 2016 could be the first installment of a bigger pay hike that will be implemented in phases.
The Senator at the same time urged the DBM to submit the bill as soon as possible so it can be tackled “in unison” with the national budget.
“You can’t divorce the two; 27 centavos for every budget peso in 2016 is for personnel services,” Recto said.
Senate Bill No. 2671 or the Salary Standardization Law 4 (SSL4) sponsored by Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th and Francis Escudero is still pending in the Senate.
If enacted, the base pay of the lowest grade government employee will be increased from P9,000 to P16,000. For military and uniformed personnel, base pay will range from P23,200 for a candidate soldier to P550,000 for a four-star general.
Meanwhile, Senator Sonny Angara asked government economic managers how they intend to improve the lives of the Filipino people.
Angara lamented that while achievements in terms of debt management and increased investor confidence have been achieved, there seems to be no proposals that will directly have an impact on the lives of Filipinos.
Angara, who chairs the Senate ways and means committee, added that the government has been asking Congress to pass measures that will generate more revenues but has not done anything to ease the burden of the people like adopting tax reforms.
At 32 percent, Angara said, the Philippines has the second-highest individual income tax rate in Southeast Asia, next to Thailand and Vietnam’s 35 percent.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima admitted that the tax structure is still under review.