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SC asked to compel DBM to release funds for gov’t salary increase

The Supreme Court on Monday was asked to compel the Department of Budget and Management to release starting Tuesday the P42.7-billion representing the fourth tranche of salary increases for government workers.

The fourth tranche of salary increases is provided for under Executive Order No. 201 that was issued by then President Benigno S. Aquino III in 2016.

In a petition filed by House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., the SC was told that the release of the funds for the increases should be a ministerial duty of the DBM.

Together with a group of 50 government personnel, Andaya’s petition stated that the DBM should release the funds even while the government is using a re-enacted budget for failure of Congress to pass the 2019 General Appropriations Act, the budget law.

“There is no basis for the delay in the release and disbursement of funds as there are available alternative sources of funds for the fourth tranche of personnel benefits under EO 201,” the petitioners said.

The petition cited two alternative sources to cover for the P42.7 billion needed for the salary increases. It said the funds can be secured from the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund and the savings from the re-enacted 2018 budget.

It said the MPBF still has P99.4 billion which is “allowed to be used for payments of personal benefits, such as deficiencies in authorized salaries, bonuses, allowances, associated premiums, and other similar personnel benefits of national government personnel, among others.”

It pointed out that the P75 billion from the MPBF is allotted for “Payment of Compensation Adjustment” and “Funding Requirements for Staffing Modifications and Upgrading and Salaries” which could be used by the DBM for the fourth tranche of salary increases.

“As can be seen above, only p42,705,911,000 is needed by the DBM to fund the fourth tranche salary increase and adjustment for the year 2019, when it has a total amount of p99,446,295,000 in the MPBF. Even if DBM simply uses the P75,169,215,000 covering allocations for compensation adjustment and salary upgrades, it is still more than the required P42-billion requirement for the fourth tranche salary increase and adjustments. In fact, even if DBM wishes to use the proposed 2019 GAA for MPBF, which amounts to P51,575,607,000, it can still cover the required amount for salary increase and adjustment,” the petition stated. (Rey G. Panaligan)