GMA signs 10% wage increase order

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — President Arroyo yesterday signed an executive order authorizing the 10-percent increase in the basic pay of more than a million state workers.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita announced the signing as he conceded that workers in private firms would not get a salary increase today—and even if the regional tripartite wage boards worked overtime on pending petitions for salary increases.

The wage increase in the basic pay of 898,849 national government employees takes effect on July 1 and will cost P9.216 billion for six months.

In other developments:

  • The Labor Department said it expected the Regional Wage Boards to decide on the salary increase for private workers in late May or early June
  • The National Police goes on full alert today to ensure a peaceful celebration of Labor Day.

This is the second consecutive year that the government has granted a 10-percent increase in the basic pay of civilian employees and a P1,200 raise in the monthly subsistence and other allowances of policemen, soldiers and other uniformed personnel.

The 2008 budget has allocated P41 billion for the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund that may be used for any salary adjustments.

A similar increase in the basic pay of an estimated 277,905 soldiers, policemen, firemen, jail guards, and Coast Guard personnel will cost an extra P2.84 billion for the same period when the wage hike takes effect in July.

Unlike last year when the increase was tucked in their subsistence allowance, this year’s pay hike for uniformed personnel would be pegged on their basic pay, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. said.

He said the P12.05-billion cost of the July compensation adjustment covered six months only.

A full year requirement would be factored into the 2009 budget and cost around P24 billion, Andaya said.

By next year, the total cost of the three salary increases that started in 2006 would be around P60 billion a year.

Andaya said that once the pay hike took effect, a Teacher I, which occupies Grade 10 in the 33-grade government pay scale, would get a basic salary of between P12,026 and P14,297 a month.

A first lieutenant in the Army and his counterpart in the National Police would earn P18,343 a month.

While regional wage boards have yet to decide on the wage hike petitions by various labor groups, Mrs. Arroyo has renewed her appeal to private firms to give non-wage benefits to their workers to help them cope with rising food prices.

The moderate labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines has filed for an P80 wage increase in the metropolis.

The group sought P75 last year but the wage boards decided on P12.