December 9, 2022

Bicol Express News

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Chiz Escudero: Gov’t Salary Standardization must cover job orders, contractual workers; NO to bureaucracy of haves and have-nots

Sorsogon governor Chiz Escudero. Bicol Express News photo

Senatorial aspirant and Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero does not want a “bureaucracy of haves and have nots”, and to narrow the pay gap.

Escudero said all government workers, whether temporary or permanent, should get salary increases and benefits if there will be a new legislation that will provide a fresh round of pay hike for state employees.

“No to bureaucracy of Haves and Have-Nots”

In January, the third tranche of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) V took effect and adjusted the salaries of government employees holding plantilla positions, but left out workers under job order, contractual and temporary employment.

“Kung may batas mang gagawin, dapat isaklaw o isama ang temporary, job order at contractual workers dahil sa totoo lang, sa pananaw ko, pareho lamang ang ginagawang trabaho ng contractual and job order at ng permanente,” Escudero said.

“In this time of pandemic, we cannot have a bureaucracy of haves and have nots – those who have salary increases and those who have not,” Escudero said.

We should narrow the pay gap, not widen it,” the veteran legislator pointed out.

“Job Order (JO), Contract of Service (COS) defined”

According to the Civil Service Commission (CSC), there are some 582,378 hired under Job-Order (JO) and Contract of Service (COS) status as of August 2021.

JO, as defined by the CSC, is a “piece work (pakyaw) or intermittent or emergency jobs such as clearing of debris on the roads, canals, waterways, etc. after natural/man-made disasters/occurrences and other manual/trades and crafts services such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical and the like. These jobs are of short duration and for a specific piece of work.”

On the other hand, COS is defined as “the engagement of the services of an individual, private firm, other government agency, non-governmental agency or international organization as consultant, learning service provider or technical expert to undertake special project or job within a specific period.”
The former senator believes the inclusion of non-permanent items in the salary and benefits adjustments will not be difficult as the government can find means to have additional sources of funding in its annual budget.

“Nais ko na bigyan ng tamang kompensasyon at pagkilala ang kanilang binibigay na sakripisyo at pagiging bayani lalo na sa panahong ito ng pandemya. Kung ang sasabihin nila (gobyerno) na kulang at walang pera, hindi ako naniniwala doon. Kung may pera nga para bumili ng ilang kagamitan na hindi kailangan, may pera din dapat sila para sa tunay na naaasahan sa panahon ng pandemya,” he stressed.

“Salary standardization of Gov’t employees”

Republic Act 114661 or the Salary Standardization Law of 2019 provides the modification of the Salary Schedule for Civilian Personnel and authorizes the grant of additional benefits.

Under the law, some 1.6 million civil servants in plantilla positions stand to benefit from the pay hike, which will be in four tranches from 2020 until 2023.

The national government has allocated a total of P130.5 billion for the salary adjustments until next year.

RA 114661 is the fifth SSL since RA 6758 (SSL I) was passed in 1989 during the term of President Corazon C. Aquino.

“Civil Service must review policy on employment”

Aside from increasing the salaries and benefits of the JO/COS personnel in the same level of their plantilla holder counterparts, Escudero said the government should consider their regularization, especially if these employees have been in the service for many years.

Aware that a major prerequisite for regularization is the passing of Civil Service Professional Examination, except if one is a board passer, Escudero said that the CSC should review its policy on plantilla positions and consider one’s length of service, work experience and performance rating as substitutes to the requirements.

“The government should start a pathway to the regularization of perpetual JOs or contractuals.”

“Bukod sa civil service exam, marami namang pwedeng gawing substitute sa requirements katulad ng length of service or performance rating,” he pointed out.

“Pay increased for nurses in Sorsogon public hospitals”

Meanwhile, the Governor said in Sorsogon, his administration has started the implementation of a budget circular increasing the salaries of nurses working in public hospitals, as the third tranche of the SSL 5 took effect this month.

He wanted to adjust the salaries of non-plantilla medical workers, the law only limits it to holders of permanent positions.

“Pinatupad namin ‘yan subalit ang batas sumasaklaw lamang sa mga permanenteng health workers at mga empleyado. Hindi ito sumasaklaw sa job order, contractual o mga temporary employees,” he explained.

“Salary increase for all, permanent and non- permanent”

Escudero said equal salaries for all health workers will make their take-home pay competitive with those who are in the private sector and even their counterparts abroad.

He expressed hope that the increase in benefits and salaries will make Filipino nurses and doctors stay in the country.

“Yan ang pangunahing dahilan kung bakit karamihan sa kanila, doctor man o nurse, ay nangingibang bansa dahil mas maganda ang kita at oportunidad sa mga karatig nating mga bansa,” Escudero pointed out.