Fresh pay hike for state workers rests on 2019 budget OK: Diokno

Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2019 04:35 PM | Updated as of Jan 14 2019 08:53 PM

MANILA – The fourth tranche of pay increases for state workers will have no legal basis unless the 2019 General Appropriations Act is passed, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Monday.

Diokno said he welcomed House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya's pleading before the Supreme Court for the salary hike to push through.

Lawmakers failed to pass the 2019 national budget before the end of 2018 after Andaya questioned alleged irregularities in allocations for flood control projects.

"We have to wait for passage of 2019 GAA, otherwise the fourth pay hike tranche won't have legal basis,” Diokno said.

Diokno said "many problems could have been avoided” had Congress approved the 2019 budget last December.

"So, I'll go back to what I asked them before, approve the budget, that's their primary route, so I think we should really avoid this re-enacted budget," he said.

The Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) cannot fund the increase, as Andaya suggests, since it only covers the 2018 tranche of pay hikes, Diokno said.

In an earlier statement, Diokno urged lawmakers to "stop wasting time" and focus on essential legislation.

State workers will receive the fourth tranche of pay hikes retroactively once the 2019 budget is approved, Diokno said.