After Paltry Wage Increase, State Workers to Campaign for More

The recently signed Salary Standardization Law 3 (SSL3) sets new salary rates for state workers. It’s a welcome respite amid the economic crisis, as well as an initial victory of the campaign for better wages. But government workers say SSL3, apart from giving really small increases, still has numerous anti-worker provisions. It is crying out for improvement.

By NOEL SALES BARCELONA
Bulatlat

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has signed into law an amendment of the existing Salary Standardization Law covering wages of government workers, thus approving new standard rates for both civilian and military personnel in the Philippines.

Nominally, the government has released P18.4 billion ($379.8 million) to implement the salary increase of 1.145 million government employees, including the police and military. It will be charged to the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund of 2009 budget.

The approved increase in wages of state workers is an “initial victory” for the campaign for wage hike that the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Avancement of Government Employees (Courage) has been advancing for the past 10 years, said Ferdinand Gaite, the group’s chairman.

But, Gaite pointed, these increases are really small to the point of being insignificant as the new amendment, called SSL3, will give these in staggered amounts for four years.

For public school teachers, for instance, the P6,500 increment, spread out in four years, “translate to a measly P1,625 ($33) monthly increase per year — substantially less than our demand for a P9,000 ($186) hike over the next three years,” said Antonio Tinio, national chairman of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).

Teachers, about half a million of them nationwide, comprise the largest percentage of the government’s civilian workforce. While saying that they are not begrudging military and personnel their pay increases, Tinio said teachers resented that the Arroyo administration gave more focus on upgrading the pay of uniformed personnel while neglecting the civilian bureaucracy.

Based on a matrix provided by the SSL3, a candidate soldier will receive a P8,630 ($178) while a Salary Grade 1, Step 8 employee will get only P7,895 ($163).

Public-sector employees, public-school teachers and health workers have formed an alliance, called All Government Employees’ Unity (All GE Unity), to push for the P3,000 wage hike. The group insisted the wage increases must be disbursed for a maximum of two years; otherwise, the annual installments will be insignificant given the inflation rate.

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) maintains that the current salary standardization scheme actually violates, or outrightly repeals, the Republic Act 7305 or Magna Carta for Public Health Workers.

This law is the fruit of the public health sector’s years of struggles for decent wages, but is still being denied them, the AHW said in a statement.

Courage also criticized the seeming bias of the approved SSL3 against workers in local government units (LGUs).

EO 811, which amending SSL, gave the local legislative assemblies the power to determine the salary rates for LGU personnel, based on LGU income class and financial capability.

“It’s wage regionalization in the public sector,” Santi Dasmariñas, secretary-general of Courage, said. “The increase shall not be implemented equally but shall be based on the LGUs’ income and financial capability as first- to sixth-class cities and municipalities. In many cases, employees of the local governments have yet to receive the salary differentials from 10 percent adjustment last year and even the benefits mandated by law. Employees of second, third, fourth etc., class municipalities are unjustly being treated as second- and third-class workers. Their pay is much lower and often delayed compared to their counterparts in first-class municipalities and national government,” Dasmariñas said.

Dasmariñas also pointed out that SSL3 has another loophole in requiring a review and integration of benefits gained from collective negotiations agreement and magna cartas for social workers, scientists, health workers, teachers and other laws.

And then, after all is said and done, the local government workers will have to wait for Jan. 1, 2010, to enjoy the initial benefits under EO 811, according to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita. (Bulatlat.com)

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  1. SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 4, S.2009 IS UNCONSTITUTIONALWE APPEAL TO MY CO-EMPLOYEES OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY TO JOIN HANDS TO QUESTION BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT THE VALIDITY OF SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 4, PARTICULARLY ITS PROVISION THAT JANUARY 1, 2010 (NOT JULY 1, 2009 AS THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL) SHALL BE THE EFFECTIVITY DATE ¬ OF THE MODIFIED COMPENSATION AND POSITION CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES. LET US FIND FOR US A GOOD LAWYER/S WHO COULD HELP BRING IMMEDIATELY THE ISSUE BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT. THIS JOINT RESOLUTION NO 4, S. 2009 VIOLATED SECTION IX-B OF THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION, WHICH STATES THAT CONGRESS SHALL PROVIDE STANDARDIZATION OF COMPENSATION OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES, BY PROVIDING FOR TWO (2) EFFECTIVITY DATES, JULY 1, 2009 FOR NATIONAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AND JANUARY 1, 2010 FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNIT EMPLOYEES. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS JOINT RESOLUTION, EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 811, DATED JUNE 17, 2009, WAS ISSUED ADOPTING THE FIRST TRANCHE OF THE MODIFIED SALARY SCHEDULE WHICH SHALL TAKE EFFECT JULY 1, 2009 FOR NATIONAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES BUT JANUARY 1, 2010 FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL PER SECTION THEREOF. THIS JOINT RESOLUTION NO 4, S. 2009 ALSO VIOLATED SECTION 1 OF ARTICLE III – BILL OF RIGHTS OF THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION WHICH STATES THAT NO PERSON SHALL BE DENIED EQUAL PROTECTION OF LAW. EQUAL PROTECTION OF LAW SIGNIFIES THAT ALL PERSONS SUBJECT TO LEGISLATION SHOULD BE TREATED ALIKE UNDER LIKE CIRCUMSTANCES AND CONDITIONS BOTH IN THE PRIVILEGES CONFERRED AND LIABILITIES IMPOSED. ANG NATIONAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES LANG BA ANG APEKTADO NG HIGH COST OF LIVING, INFLATION, GLOBAL RECESSION, CLIMATE CHANGE, ETC.? TAYO BANG NASA LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AY HINDI NAGDARANAS NG MGA GANITONG KAHIRAPAN? THIS JOINT RESOLUTION IS A VERY GOOD EXAMPLE OF CLASS LEGISLATION. MALINAW NA NILABAG NIYA ATING KARAPATAN SA ILALIM NG SALIGANG BATAS TO EQUAL PROTECTION OF LAW.THIS JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 4, S. 2009 VIOLATED THE GOVERNING PRINCIPLE OF EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK UNDER THE CONSTITUTION AND REPUBLIC ACT 6758 WHICH THE SAID RESOLUTION PER ITS 2ND WHEREAS CONTINUED TO ADHERE TO. HOWEVER, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE MANDATE OF THE CONSTITUTION, THE COMPENSATION SYSTEM UNDER RA 6758 HAD ONLY ONE (1) EFFECTIVITY DATE FOR NATIONAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS PERSONNEL, WHICH WAS JULY 1, 1989. THE JOINT RESOLUTION CONTRADICTED ITS OWN INTENTION UNDER THE 3RD WHEREAS TO BE MORE RESPONSIVE TO THE ECONOMIC NEEDS OF CIVILIAN PERSONNEL BY ADDRESSING ONLY THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL LEAVING THE ECONOMIC NEEDS OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT PESONNEL TO JANUARY 1, 2010. WHY THIS JOINT RESOLUTION HAS STILL TO DELAY THE EFFECTIVITY DATE FOR LGU PERSONNEL TO JANUARY 1, 2010, SIX (6) MONTHS LATE THAN THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL, WHEN IT HAS PLACED ALREADY SO MANY SAFEGUARDS TO CONTROL AND LIMIT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MODIFIED COMPENSATION BY THE LGUS SUCH, THAT SALARIES AND WAGES AND OTHER BENEFITS OF OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE LGUS SHALL BE DETERMINED BY THEIR RESPECTIVE SANGGUNIANS SUBJECT TO THE PERSONAL SERVICES LIMITATION BUT SHALL NOT EXCEED THE INCOME CLASS AND FINANCIAL CAPABILITY OF THE LGUS. THE RESOLUTION VIOLATED THE PRINCIPLE OF LOCAL AUTONOMY UNDER RA 7160. WE READ THE TRANSCRIPTS OF DISCUSSION AT THE PLENARY, THE EFFECTIVITY DATE OF JANUARY 1, 2010 WAS INSERTED SIMPLY AS AN AMENDMENT BUT WITHOUT ANY DISCUSSION OR JUSTIFICATION. WE HOPE THE ISSUES RAISED HERE WILL BE BROUGHT IMMEDIATELY TO THE ATTENTION OF THE SUPREME COURT FOR IMMEDIATED DECISION. CO-EMPLOYEES IN THE LGUS, LET US PROTECT OUR RIGHTS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION. GOOD LAWYERS, WE APPEAL FOR YOUR HELP.

  2. send me also a copy of the matrix of approved salary increase for teachers and nurses. tnx…

  3. pls send me a copy of the matrix of the approved salary increase for teachers..tnx

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