MANILA - Traffic enforcers, the on-ground face of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), may finally see results in the agency's long-running thrust to bring back their hazard pay.
MMDA chairman Danilo Lim told reporters Sunday the additional risk pay may take a different name but would still benefit enforcers, who work despite heavy rains, floods, pollution, as well as occasionally needing to deal with road raging motorists.
"Mukhang posible namang maibalik, pero hindi na ganoon, hindi na hazard pay. Kahit na anong tawag diyan, anong klaseng pay iyan, importante may dagdag na pakinabang, benepisyo ang mga enforcers natin."
Lim earlier spoke at the agency's annual formation at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila, where he assured more than 2,000 field employees that he and other officials were pushing for higher wages, the return of the hazard pay, as well as the regularization of more MMDA workers.
He said they hoped the additional pay would be included in the MMDA's next budget. Aside from legislators, Lim said they have also brought the concern to Malacañang.
"Sumusulat na tayo, may nakakausap na tayo. Hopefully, paglabas ng susunod na budget natin kasama na iyan. Ifo-follow up natin, hindi ititigil, dahil marami namang tumutulong. Maraming nakakaintindi sa kalagayan ng mga traffic enforcers," Lim said.
In June, a research team from the University of the Philippines revealed that MMDA traffic enforcers faced health risks such as high blood pressure and respiratory problems because of pollution.
The MMDA used to give hazard pay as an incentive against corruption. But the agency had stopped granting hazard pay to enforcers after the Commission on Audit disallowed this.
Enforcers earn a daily minimum wage of P537, with 2/3 not receiving allowances and benefits since they are not in regular positions.
The MMDA said it is will lobby Congress for an increase in the number of permanent and casual positions, or at least an increase in allowances for agency employees. It lobbied for a similar bill covering wages and hazard pay in 2017.
The MMDA has more than 7,000 employees, but only around 2,000 are part of the regular workforce. The rest work as job-order employees in the agency.
Some are still waiting to be absorbed as permanent staff despite having been with the MMDA for 15 years.
One of them, medic Maria Denise Estocapio of the Road Emergency Group, looked forward not only to regularization, but also the promise of hazard pay.
"Medyo nagkukulang po lalo na po sa benefits ng suweldo, kaya minsan napipilitan magka-second job, odd jobs here and there.
"Pero pina-priority ko pa rin ang job na ito, because this is what I really love. This is what I really want."