MANILA — House members are seeking to peg at Php5,000 the monthly minimum net take-home pay of government employees after authorized deductions, to raise the purchasing power of workers and discourage them from taking out more loans, a habit that the government is strongly discouraging.
The lawmakers led by Rep. Rosenda Ann Ocampo (6th District, Manila) raised this proposal through House Bill 4441 seeking to provide for a monthly minimum net-take home pay for all government employees after authorized deductions.
Ocampo, an assistant majority leader, said increasing the minimum net take-home pay per month would boost the employees’ purchasing power and control their loan habit.
“This will allow them to have a few thousand pesos more to spend on their family’s needs. Also, this could put some form of control on the loan amount an employee can avail of,” said Ocampo.
“It is a known fact that most government employees take out loans left and right regardless of their capacity to pay which reduces their minimum net take-home pay,” Ocampo further said.
Ocampo said the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) in its 2012 Full Year Official Poverty Statistics Report stated that a family of five will need at least a monthly income of P5,513 to buy its minimum basic food needs and around P7,890 a month for minimum basic food and non-food needs. Incidentally, she said inflation in the country increased at 4.1 percent per year from 2009 to 2012.
“In fact, having a deficit of a few hundred pesos below the required amount set by the NSCB may already be considered as living below the poverty line. Certainly, a net take-home pay of P3,000 is not enough,” she said.
Ocampo, also a vice chairperson of the House committees on basic education and culture, natural resources, and games and amusement, said state employees selflessly render their invaluable service to the government and are the primary movers towards the country’s growth and development.
“It is necessary to preserve their well-being and help them keep their dignity by providing measures that will protect their economic liberties. The provision under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) which sets the monthly minimum net take-home pay of employees annually must be enacted as a special law to gain permanence and give our state workers a sense of security,” said Ocampo.
The annual GAA sets the monthly minimum net take-home pay of state workers after authorized deductions. This is to ensure that they bring home a decent portion of their earnings after paying all their obligations and contributions.
In 2012, Ocampo said the monthly minimum net take-home pay was increased to P5,000 from P3,000 during the previous years. This adjustment was deemed necessary because of the rising cost of living in the country.
However, under the GAA of 2013, she said the monthly minimum net take-home pay was again reduced to P3,000.
In House Bill 4441, Ocampo and 12 co-authors of the measure proposed that the minimum net take-home pay of state workers after all authorized deductions shall at all times be equivalent to 30 percent of the monthly salary prescribed for Step 8, Salary Grade 12 as provided for under Republic Act 6758, otherwise known as the “Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989,” as amended. Per Joint Resolution No. 4, enacted by both the Senate and the House, and approved by former President Arroyo in 2009 on the rates for standardized salaries of government employees, the salary equivalent of Grade 12, Step 8 is P21,379.
The bill refers to authorized deductions as deductions from salaries, emoluments, or other benefits accruing to any government employee that may be allowed for the payment of an employee’s contributions due the following: Bureau of Internal Revenue, Government Service Insurance System, Home Development Mutual Fund and the PhilHealth; Mutual benefits associations, thrift banks and non-stock savings and loan associations duly operating under existing laws which are mandated by, and for the benefit of, government employees; Associations or cooperatives organized and managed by the government employees for their benefit and welfare; Duly licensed insurance companies accredited by national government agencies; and Other authorized deductions as may be authorized by law.
The bill now pending at the committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Isidro Ungab (3rd District, Davao City) is co-authored by Reps. Kimi Cojuangco (5th District, Pangasinan), Jorge Banal (3rd District, Quezon City), Sergio Apostol (2nd District, Leyte), Maria Leonor Robredo (3rd District, Camarines Sur), Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City), Evelina Escudero (1st District, Sorsogon), Dakila Carlo Cua (Lone District, Quirino), Josephine Ramirez Sato (Lone District, Occidental Mindoro), Mariano Piamonte (Party-list, A-Teacher), Jose Atienza, Jr. (Party-list, Buhay), Walden Bello (Party-list, Akbayan) and Regina Ongsiako Reyes (Lone District, Marinduque).