Sen. Bam to DBM: Don’t resort to delaying tactics, use MPBF to cover 1st month of salary hike

Instead of resorting to delaying tactics, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) must look for ways to deliver the government’s obligation to increase salary of its workers, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

“Kung ayaw may dahilan, kung gusto may paraan,” said Sen. Bam as renewed his call to the DBM to use the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) for the salary hike of government workers.

“Delay is not an option. The Budget Department should find ways to deliver on its duty to implement the fourth tranche of salary increase for public servants,” added Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam contended that the MPBF is enough to cover the first month of the fourth and final part of the salary increase for government workers under the Salary Standardization Law (SSL).

In the 2018 budget, the MPBF is close to P100 billion while the salary increase requirement for January 2019 is less than P5 billion.

“Hindi naman natin hinihingi sa DBM na pondohan ang buong taon kundi ibigay lang ang unang buwan ng umento sa sahod habang inaantay na maipasa ng Senado ang 2019 national budget bago matapos ang Enero,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam said the salary increase could ease the burden of Tuesday’s oil price hike due to increase in world oil prices that could lead to further rise in prices of goods.

“Huwag na sanang pag-antayin ng DBM ang mga manggagawa sa gobyerno. Napakalaking tulong ng salary increase para sa ating government workers para kayanin ang pagtaas ng presyo ng langis at lalo pang pagmahal ng presyo ng bilihin,” added the senator.

On Monday, Sen. Bam filed a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the DBM should utilize the MPBF for the fourth instalment of the salary increase for government workers.

Aside from Sen. Bam, fellow opposition senators –Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Antonio Trillanes, Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros – signed Resolution No. 982.

In his Resolution, Sen. Bam insisted that the DBM is authorized to release and pay the salary increase immediately, without the need for further approval from Congress.

Sen. Bam to DBM: Don’t hold salary increase hostage, use MPBF now!

Don’t hold hostage the salary increase of government employees and public school teachers!

Sen. Bam Aquino issued this call to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), saying the agency can tap the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) to finance the fourth tranche of the Salary Standardization Law in January 2019.

“Bakit kapag dagdag buwis mabilis pero pahirapan kapag dagdag sweldo ang usapan?” said Sen. Bam as he questioned the DBM’s continued refusal to use the fund for the salary increase of government workers. 

“Huwag naman po sanang gamiting hostage ng gobyerno ang umento sa sahod ng ating kaguruan para iratsada ang pagpasa ng budget sa Senado. Hindi po totoo na walang pagkukunan ng pondo para dito,” added Sen. Bam, vice chairman of the Committee on Finance.

The lawmaker said there’s no reason for the DBM not to release the salary increase, which can help government employees deal with the prevailing high prices of food and other goods.

”Dapat ibigay na ngayon ang dagdag sweldo sa ating public servants at public school teachers. Walang dahilan para ipagpaliban pa ito, lalo ngayong mahirap ang buhay dahil sa taas ng presyo ng bilihin,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam intends to file a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that DBM can disburse the MPBF for the salary increase of government workers.

According to Sen. Bam, the 2018 re-enacted budget provides for a MPBF, which can be used to fund authorized personnel and benefit items, including pay increases.

“Ibig sabihin, maaari nang ibigay ng DBM ang umento sa sahod kahit wala pang clearance mula sa Kongreso. Hindi rin lalabag ang DBM sa Saligang Batas kapag ginamit ito sa dagdag-sahod ng ating mga lingkod bayan,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam: Senate will ensure free tuition in SUCs is funded

Sen. Bam Aquino assured that the Senate will find ways to fund the P25 billion needed to implement the free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs) even if the measure is vetoed by President Duterte.

“Nag-commit na si Sen. Loren Legarda, ang chairperson ng Committee on Finance, na hahanapan ito ng pondo para sa 2018 budget para sa batas na ito. Hindi natin poproblemahin ito para sa 2018 budget dahil hahanapan natin ang pondo,” the senator explained.

 Sen. Bam Aquino also clarified that the free college education will need a budget of P25 billion and not P100 billion as claimed by a Malacanang official.

 “Iyong numero na binibigay ng Department of Budget and Management (DBM), masyado pong malaki iyon,” Sen. Bam said in a radio interview. “Sa amin sa Senado, ang computation namin na kailangan sa batas na ito ay P25 billion.”

Amid speculations that President Duterte will veto the measure, Sen. Bam remains optimistic that the Chief Executive will sign it into law. “Naniniwala ako na pipirmahan ni Pangulong Duterte ang panukalang ito. Kung priority mo ang edukasyon, popondohan mo ito,” said Sen. Bam.

 The Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act will automatically lapse into law on August 5 if not vetoed by the Chief Executive.

As principal sponsor and co-author, Sen. Bam defended the bill in plenary debates and interpellation during his stint as chairman of the Committee on Education.

He also stood as co-chairman of the Senate delegation to the bicameral conference committee, together with new Committee on Education chairman Sen. Francis Escudero and members Sens. Sherwin Gatchalian and Ralph Recto. 

 If passed into law, students will start to enjoy free education in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs) and vocational schools under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) starting the second semester of school year 2017-18. Aside from tuition fees, the government will also shoulder miscellaneous and other fees. 

Under the law, scholarship grants will also be made available to students of both public and private college and universities. It also provides a loan program, where students can apply for financing for other education expenses.

Senate Bill No. 699: People’s Fund Act

At a time when public funding is under intense scrutiny, when the Filipino people are crying out for full transparency and accountability, and when government is being called on to implement massive reforms, how can we ensure that it is the PEOPLE of the Philippines who ultimately have a say on where public funds are being spent?

The People’s Fund seeks to revolutionize public budgeting and funding by giving the taxpayers of the Philippines the choice on where a portion of their hard- earned money should go.

It allows an individual taxpayer to allocate five percent (5%) of his or her income tax to be allocated for any of the following:

  1. An accredited charity or civil society organization;
  2. A priority national or local government project;
  3. A legitimate political party.

Under this bill, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) shall establish the mechanism that would enable individual taxpayers to select beneficiaries upon filing of their annual income tax returns.

Meanwhile, an inter-agency committee led by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) shall determine the eligibility of respective organizations, and shall likewise set the conditions, guidelines, and reporting requirements for the receipt and use of the funds by the benefitting organizations.

This gives the Filipino public greater control over how their monies are spent, ultimately empowering Filipinos to support institutions and initiatives that they deem worthy.

In view of the foregoing ,the approval of the bill is earnestly sought.


Implement Salary Grade 15 for Entry-Level Public Nurses – Sen. Bam to DBM

Senator Bam Aquino has asked the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to fully implement the law which provides salary grade 15 to entry-level government nurses.

“The DBM should provide the necessary funding so that the salary grade 15 mandated by law for entry-level government nurses must be fulfilled,” Aquino said during the hearing of the Committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization.

 According to latest data from the Department of Health (DOH), approximately P450 million is needed to fully implement the salary mandated by Republic Act No. 9173 or The Philippine Nursing Act of 2002.

When asked by Aquino on why RA 9173 is not being implemented, DOH Undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa blamed the lack of funding from the DBM for its failure.

The DBM, for its part, admitted that DOH has already created nursing positions starting at salary grade 15.

However, the DBM said it cannot implement the salary grade adjustment because it will ruin the hierarchal relationship with other medical and allied positions.

“We seek that the law be fully implemented and give the nurses their proper compensation,” Aquino stressed.

“This is the budget season. This is the best time to talk about it so the law can be funded,” Aquino stressed.

Sen. Bam Wants Savings Legally Defined


Senator Bam Aquino wants to legally define savings to put issues such as the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to rest.

“As a co-equal branch of government, that Congress and Senate define savings once and for all to finally lay this issue to rest,” Aquino said during the hearing of the Senate finance committee on the DAP.

While the term savings is included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA), Aquino said legally defining savings would avoid issues like DAP and the hassles of revisiting it annually.

Budget Secretary Butch Abad welcomed Aquino’s suggestion, provided that “there is appreciation for the need of the Executive to be flexible, considering the complexities of governing a society like us”.

The term savings was the core issue when the Supreme Court declared DAP as unconstitutional.

The High Court declared unconstitutional the creation of savings prior to the end of the fiscal year and the withdrawal of these funds for implementing agencies and the cross-border transfers of the savings from one branch of government to another.

During the hearing, Aquino lauded the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for its efforts to make the budget more transparent to the public under the present administration.

Among the moves initiated by the current DBM leadership is the posting of budget-related documents, including the GAA and DAP, on the agency’s website for transparency and accountability.

Apart from the website, Abad said the DBM insisted on a more detailed budget plan, discouraging other government agencies from resorting to lump-sum funds.

Also, the DBM now requires agencies, especially the implementing offices, to begin procuring their infrastructure projects after submitting the proposed budget to Congress.

 “We’re allowing them to establish more bids and awards committees and hire full-time BAC people so they can perform their procurement functions better,” Abad said.

Sen. Bam Supports Calls for Special Audit of DAP


Senator Bam Aquino has supported calls on the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct a special audit on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to, once and for all, remove doubts and other controversies hounding it.

“A special audit is needed so that doubts regarding DAP’s use will be put to rest,” said Aquino during the hearing of the Senate finance committee on DAP.

Through a special audit, Aquino said it would be determined if funds really went to legitimate projects or if somebody benefitted illegally from it.

“If somebody irregularly gained from it, then he or she should be prosecuted,” Aquino emphasized.

Aquino also stressed that DAP should not be associated with the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which was scrapped after the P10-billion scam was uncovered last year.

“The DAP helped boost the economy through projects that benefited the Filipino people while P10 billion from PDAF went to ghost non-government organizations and pockets of several politicians,” Aquino stressed.

The senator also lauded the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) posting all documents related to DAP on the agency’s website for transparency and accountability.

“We invite everyone to take a look and scrutinize where the funds went,” Aquino said.

Meanwhile, Aquino expressed support behind the government’s move to file a motion for reconsideration on the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter.

“I hope the SC will weigh the President’s position on the DAP’s constitutionality and act favorably on the matter,” the senator said.

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