DBM to release Magna Carta perks

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This is a press Release from the Department of Budget and Management

DBM chief: Magna Carta rules to be strictly enforced for benefits in 2nd sem

The Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad has announced that employees of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) will receive the Magna Carta perks due them for the first semester of the year, including their laundry, subsistence, longevity, and hazard allowances.

He emphasized, however, that DBM will strictly enforce the guidelines in the 2012 General Appropriations Act (GAA) for the release of Magna Carta benefits in the second semester.

“As instructed by the President, the DBM will provide the necessary budget support to cover all allowances for PAGASA employees in the first half of 2012. However, we intend to strictly enforce the rules on Magna Carta perks in the second semester, particularly those governing the release of hazard and longevity pay.

Abad cited the frequent violation of rules set for the provision of Magna Carta perks, especially for the release of hazard pay to PAGASA employees.

“For example, PAGASA currently provides hazard allowances for its employees across the board—whether or not they are exposed to risks in the course of their duties—in clear violation of the law and their own guidelines. We need to confirm which employees, by the nature of their work, are entitled to hazard pay, as well as when they’re supposed to receive this.

“As President Aquino said to PAGASA employees, not everyone working for the agency is in a situation of risk. More importantly, not all employees who are entitled to hazard pay are actually exposed to constant, daily risk,” Abad said.

Under the Magna Carta applicable to PAGASA workers, employees are entitled to a daily subsistence allowance of P150.00, while an additional P500.00 is provided for their monthly laundry expenses. Longevity pay for each worker is calculated as 5 percent of an employee’s monthly basic pay for every five years of service. Finally, hazard pay comprises 15 percent of a PAGASA employee’s basic monthly pay.

The Budget Secretary added that in 2013, the Aquino administration will recognize all Magna Carta benefits for PAGASA-DOST employees in the GAA to provide assured funding sources for these perks.

“The biggest change in 2013 is the recognition of Magna Carta perks—as they should be implemented—as an item in the GAA. In other words, the allocation for these benefits will no longer be consigned to a lump sum fund in the National Budget, and the appropriations for Magna Carta benefits will become specific budgetary items. This way, we can ensure funding certainty for perks because they will already be provided for in the GAA,” he said.

He also noted that the existing benefits system requires an agency to source its hazard and longevity pay from year-end savings. However, agencies often realign their allocations for Personal Services (PS) and Maintenance and Other Operating Expenditures (MOOE) to augment alleged savings, which are usually insufficient for supporting Magna Carta perks.

“The consequence of this system is the disruption of critical public services, since the budgets for PS and MOOE support an agency’s human resource and operational capacities. Additionally, the indiscriminate implementation of Magna Carta perks to cover all employees—including those who are clearly unqualified for hazard allowances—runs counter to the Administration’s goal of instituting fiscal transparency and accountability in government,” Abad said.

“Additionally, we want to emphasize that the fiscal impact of these developments will be far-ranging, spanning across the 18 other agencies attached to the DOST. In other words, these benefits and changes won’t be restricted to PAGASA. All other attached agencies under the DOST’s wing will be similarly affected, and this will of course have a considerable effect on government resources,” Abad said.

“We’re now studying the ways through which we can make the release of Magna Carta benefits more efficient. As much as we need to protect the interests of the country’s public servants, we ought to do so in a legal, transparent, and responsible fashion,” he added. (Press Release)

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