MANILA - Pay raise for Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund employees amounting to P248 million were aboveboard and long overdue, its officials said Wednesday.
"I want to assure the public that the grant of step increments in 2018 was proper, done according to the right process and, most importantly, was not excessive," said Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and Pag-IBIG Fund's board of trustees.
State auditors flagged the wage increase as illegal disbursements because it had no approval from the Office of the President (OP).
Del Rosario, in a statement, said the salary step increments were meant to address inflation over the years and did not require President Rodrigo Duterte's approval.
"We have only adjusted the salaries of Pag-IBIG Fund officers and employees to be, more or less, on the same level of SSL4 (4th tranche of Salary Standardization Law), which is currently being received by employees of other government institutions," he said.
Pag-IBIG Fund CEO Acmad Rizaldy Moti said the agency's board went through due process.
"The board considered all bases when the step increments were granted in 2018. The intention behind the grant of step increments under the Compensation Plan of Pag-IBIG Fund was not to raise the salaries of officers and employees – but rather to maintain the purchasing power and value that they had in 2009 or 10 years ago when the Fund’s Compensation Plan was first adopted," he said.
Moti said the salary adjustment was long overdue and intended to attract personnel in serving its growing membership.
Since Republic Act 9679 or Home Development Mutual Fund Law was passed into law in 2009, two compensation reviews were not conducted. The salaries of Pag-IBIG Fund employees stayed at the same level as in 2009.
"The members of the Board who approved the grant, which include myself, were not covered by the step increments because we are presidential appointees. The grant went to career employees and officers who worked hard in order to achieve record-breaking feats and made 2018 the best year ever for Pag-IBIG Fund," Moti said.