GOCC workers’ pay hike faces delay
With the government pushed to the limit given its limited resources, the COVID-19 crisis may claim another victim—the planned uniform and higher pay for employees of state-run corporations aimed at making them competitive with the private sector now faces delay.
Before the pandemic happened, the Governance Commission (GCG) for GOCCs since last year was working to develop a new compensation and position classification system (CPCS) for government-owned and -controlled corporations, GCG director and spokesperson Johann Carlos S. Barcena told the Inquirer.
The compensation study for the planned CPCS—currently being crafted with the GCG’s partner-consultant Willis Towers Watson Philippines Inc.—was targeted to be finished this year, after which it will be submitted to President Duterte for approval.
“The timeline of the CPCS implementation will depend entirely on the Presidential approval,” Barcena said.
The new CPCS for GOCCs is aimed at putting in place “a competitive compensation and remuneration system which shall attract and retain talent, at the same time allowing the GOCC to be financially sound and sustainable,” Barcena explained.
As the national government rationalizes GOCCs, especially those dormant or redundant in functions, the CPCS will also help allocate all positions to their proper position titles and salary/job grades based on a standardized index of occupational services and position titles for all GOCCS provided in the system, Barcena added.
At present, GOCCs have a hand in personnel compensation, while some state-run corporations had been exempt from the salary standardization law (SSL) covering most government personnel.
Employees of national government departments and agencies have been enjoying increasing pay yearly under the SSL, the fifth tranche of which started this year and will be implemented until 2023.
“The study which recommended the appropriate SSL for national government agencies has long been completed and is currently being used by GCG and its partner-consultant as reference for the CPCS for GOCCs,” Barcena noted.
“Similar to SSL 5, implementing the CPCS for several years was definitely considered in the study being conducted. As with any other designs of a particular compensation system, sustainability is essential. With the CPCS, the GCG aims to reinforce corporate values and facilitate the achievement of the goals of the GOCC sector,” Barcena said.
For 2020, P33.2 billion was included in the national budget to fund the salary hike under SSL 5.
Until 2023, P130.5 billion will be spent by the government for these pay adjustments.
Asked by the Inquirer if the proposed P4.335-trillion budget for 2021 already included allocation for GOCC personnel’s salary hike, Budget Secretary and GCG ex-officio member Wendel E. Avisado told the Inquirer: “Not at this time.”
In National Budget Memorandum No. 136 issued last May 21, Avisado ordered agencies to align programs and projects for next year to the “new normal” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In view of the limited fiscal space, the entire budget for fiscal year 2021 will need to be reviewed and reprioritized toward containing the spread and mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 virus, absent a vaccine; restarting the economy to be able to create jobs and attract investments; and transitioning to the ‘new normal’ environment postpandemic. The goal is to save lives and protect communities while making the different sectors of the economy stronger and more agile,” Avisado said.
Avisado said next year’s priority programs included health systems improvement in order to “strengthen the country’s capacity to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including the purchase of vaccine.”
The other top priorities for 2021 are food security, digitalization of the government and the economy as well as the promotion of the “Balik Probinsya Program” to “ensure a healthy population, a more agile workforce and business resiliency,” Avisado said.
The 2021 budget must also fund the national government’s technical assistance to local government units to better deal with the COVID-19 crisis; interventions in conflict-affected areas; as well as achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. INQ
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