PGMA, Palace back Salary Standardization Law
Manila (3 June) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Malacaņang officials on Tuesday expressed unwavering support for the passage of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) by the Bicameral body, saying it will uplift the country's government employees and boost the nation's economy as well.
Presidential Spokesman for Political Affairs Gabriel Claudio said "The passage of the SSL will be timely. We look forward for its passage in the Senate and House of Representatives. Many government employees are overworked and underpaid."
Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the government had enough funds for the SSL and that there were also efforts to fill up the vacant rank-and-file government positions.
Malacaņang officials aired this after several sectors on Tuesday lobbied the Senate to ratify a new pay system for the government after a bicameral conference swiftly reconciled and approved the House and Senate version of the bill on Monday.
Senate Joint Resolution No. 26 adopts a Total Compensation Framework, or the TCF, which seeks to rationalize and standardize the basic salaries, allowances, benefits and incentives for government officials and employees.
The basic salary, including step increments where an employee may progress from step 1 to step 8 of the salary grade allocation of his position in recognition of meritorious performance based on a performance management system under the rules promulgated by the Civil Service Commission and Department of Budget and Management, will be the TCF's primary component.
Studies show that the Philippines is at the lowest end of the scale in terms of the monthly salaries of their government employees and officials.
Reports reaching Malacaņang said the Civil Service Commission found that the salaries of senior managers and highly technical personnel in government were 74 percent below their equivalents in the private sector.
According to Asiaweek's Salary Survey 2000, a cross-country comparison indicated that the Philippines has the lowest end of the scale in terms of the monthly salaries of government employees and officials.
The current Compensation and Position Classification system is said to be riddled with many inconsistencies. For instance, there is an overlapping of salaries between salary grades in the present schedule.
Also, there are certain classes who enjoy much higher pay scale. This results in salary inequities between positions, creating demoralization.
Under the present salary structure, it is not uncommon to see a subordinate receiving a higher salary than his immediate superior.
In addition, special laws grant benefits only to selected professions.
This distorts the standardized compensation scheme and contravenes the Constitutional provision providing for the standardization of compensation of government officials and employees.
Salaries of professional and technical personnel in government were also about 40 percent below the benchmark.
As a result, the country's government professionals had increasingly been lured by higher pay in private firms.
Salary inconsistencies also existed within the government in the form of SSL exemptions and job classification distortions.
Another part of the self-made distortion are the political appointments in professional and higher technical positions. Records show that a big majority of those appointments are unqualified. (PIA) [top]