August 15, 2014
Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (0920-9220817)
Legislator questions proposed P6,000 budget for 441 employees of National Printing Office
ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio has questioned Malacañang’s proposal to provide a mere P6,000 annual budget for the 441 employees of the National Printing Office (NPO).
At yesterday’s House Committee on Appropriations hearing on the proposed 2015 budget of the Presidential Communication Operations Office and it’s attached agencies, Tinio pointed out that the National Printing Office will have a staff of 441 personnel in 2015. “These are all regular national government agency employees. Obviously, their salaries and benefits for one whole year cannot possibly be paid for by a budget of P6,000. So why ask for a mere P6,000?”
Pressed for an answer, PCOO chief Secretary Herminio Coloma said that, in accordance with an arrangement with the Department of Budget and Management, NPO operations, as well as salaries of its personnel, are paid for with funds derived from the income generated by the agency. The NPO is one of only two government entities authorized by law as the exclusive printer of the government’s accountable forms, including election ballots.
Tinio countered that such an arrangement is “unorthodox,” and asked for the legal basis authorizing it. “In fact, the Salary Standardization Law mandates that all national government plantilla positions are to be funded from the General Appropriations. In the absence of any other legal ground, this arrangement is unlawful.”
Tinio pointed out that the welfare of NPO employees is at stake. “The law says that the budget for personnel must be funded in the General Appropriations Act in order to guarantee that employees’ salaries, allowances, and benefits will be paid, no matter what. Paying their compensation from income exposes the employees and their families to unnecessary risk. This is unacceptable.”
Tinio added that, based on previous years’ budgets, the NPO would need approximately P150 million to pay the salaries, allowances, and benefits of their employees.
Tinio urged the Appropriations Committee to require the DBM to explain. “Is this a case of the DBM playing fast and loose once again with the GAA and other budget-related laws passed by Congress? This budget cannot be approved unless this issue is resolved satisfactorily.”
The Committee agreed to further investigate the matter. #