“Military and uniformed personnel enjoy their maximum salary increase since January of 2018. Meanwhile, civilian personnel are still struggling for a substantial salary increase.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — With three days left before President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address, government workers decried his failed promises to increase their pay, provide security of tenure, and provide basic social services.
“We’re halfway through Duterte’s term; the time is now to lift its own workers from their dismal states due to meager pay. No more promises, what we need now is a concrete and decisive move to raise our salaries,” said ACT National Chairperson Joselyn Martinez in a statement.
Last week, health workers in several hospitals in Metro Manila such as in Jose Reyes Memorial Circle, Philippine Orthopedic Center, Philippine Heart Center and San Lazaro Hospital held protest actions calling for just wage increases during their lunch breaks.
Public school teachers, on other hand, held an online rally, asking their colleagues to do a “Red Lipstick Day” to remind Duterte of his election promises.
Public school teacher Ruby Bernardo said during a press conference, July 18, that she is not buying government claims that their wages cannot be increased due to budget limitations.
She accused the present administration of “playing favoritism” as uniformed personnel are getting all the pay increases.
Courage National President Santiago Dasmariñas noted that while the “military and uniformed personnel enjoy their maximum salary increase since January of 2018, civilian personnel are still struggling for a substantial salary increase.”
He noted that an employee belonging to Salary Grade 1 will only receive P11,068 monthly.
Meanwhile, a Teacher 1 and Nurse 1 posts will only receive P20,754 and P20,179, respectively.
The situation is worse for government workers in their respective local government units who will only receive a salary amounting to P7,194 to P10,515 if their plantilla positions are declared as Salary Grade 1.
“It is really not enough. Just like those in the police and military forces, we are also government employees and we also deserve a living wage”, said Eleazar Sobinsky of the Alliance of Health Workers.
Security of tenure
Dasmariñas said the government is the biggest employer in hiring contractual workers, with 660,000 out of the 2.4 million members of the bureaucracy who are considered to have no employee-employer relationship.
In a statement, government workers said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Civil Service Commission (CSC) and Commission on Audit (COA) issued Joint Circular No. 1 series of 2018, resorting to manpower agency hiring as a shortcut solution to the proliferation of contract of service workers in government starting January 2021.
Roxanne Fernandez, spokesperson of Kawani Laban sa Kontraktwalisasyon, said this would “result in massive lay-off of contractual employees until January 2021.”
Dire economic situation of state workers
Government workers, too, are not any different from the rest of the Filipino people who are dreading the impacts of policies deemed as “anti-poor.”
During the press conference earlier today, union leaders assailed the impacts of Duterte’s tax reform package, which resulted in increased prices of goods and services.
However, instead of addressing their concerns, government workers said the present administration has been busy in vilifying their unions.
Their union meetings, too, are constantly being subjected to surveillance and other forms of attack.
As of this writing, there are three government workers union organizers who are in detention over trumped-up charges.
United Peoples’ SONA
Asked by reporters if protesters are taking precautions to avoid clashes with police, Dasmariñassaid they have never initiated “chaos” during protests.
He added that Duterte’s failure to address the people’s needs and aspirations is the one causing “chaos.”