MANILA - Government workers want the Supreme Court to intervene to stop a Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) order on their taxes.
Wearing red and black ribbons, employees of the Supreme Court and the lower courts staged a rally at the high court grounds on Wednesday.
They condemned BIR Memorandum Order No. 23-2014 that taxes their allowances, bonuses, and other benefits.
They were joined by other government workers.
The new BIR policy affects state employees in all branches.
"The order was merely signed by BIR Commissioner Kim Henares. Sa ilalim ng batas, dapat sanctioned ito ng Department of Finance," said former Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Sr., lawyer of the government workers.
The group laments how government is after ordinary employees like them who are living on meager pay.
They said that instead of increasing taxes, the government should raise the wages of all state workers.
Judiciary employees feel singled out for being the only ones to be taxed for "additional compensation income."
They also criticized penalties imposed by the new BIR r policy on local government units that fail to withhold the taxes, saying this usurps Congress's power.
Government workers said the BIR and President Aquino should just focus on plugging tax leaks concerning big businesses and corporations and not further burden small workers.
NO WAGE HIKE FOR GOV'T WORKERS
This, as Budget Secretary Butch Abad on Wednesday said there will be no salary increase for government workers in 2015.
Abad confirmed this in response to a question by ACT Teachers Party Representative Antonio Tinio on whether government is proposing a salary increase for state workers in the 2015 budget.
Abad explained that the government had commissioned a survey in salaries and benefits, but did not finish it on time because of the recent calamities.
He said the survey will instead be commissioned in time for the preparation of the 2016 budget -- an election year.
Abad said that for this year, government is giving a performance enhancement incentive of at least P5,000 to one-month salary in addition to the regular performance-based bonus.
Should a salary increase be justified, the government will propose a new round of salary standardization for 2016.
The last tranche of salary standardization finished in 2012. - with reports from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News, ANC