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Usapang suweldo: How much do presidential advisers, spokespersons, and other government officials make?

By AYIE LICSI Published Oct 19, 2022 4:24 pm Updated Oct 19, 2022 8:18 pm

Although some Filipinos have reservations when talking about salaries, there surely is a lot of discussion about how much a government official makes.

And rightly so because taxpaying Filipinos are the ones who pay for these workers' salaries.

As filmmaker Paul Soriano was appointed as the presidential adviser for creative communications, netizens began buzzing about how much his pay will be. However, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s godson already agreed to make only P1 per year in his new post.

"One of the greatest assets of the Filipino is our creativity, and we must find many ways to highlight that to the rest of the world," Marcos said after Soriano's oath-taking. "And that is what Paul Soriano has already been doing in his career as a filmmaker. And now, we have asked him to help us at one peso per year."

Soriano served as a director for Marcos' first State of the Nation Address. He also had the president as his wedding godfather, while first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos is a cousin of his father.

"Anyone can waive his/her salary," Department of Budget and Management Usec. Goddes Libiran told PhilSTAR L!fe.

While she deferred commenting on the Office of the President's compensation on Soriano, Libiran cited other times presidential appointments chose to have a P1 salary.

In 2019, presidential adviser for Religious Affairs Bishop Grepor "Butch" Belgica and in 2020, presidential adviser on Clark flagship programs Gloria Macapagal Arroyo waived their salaries under former president Rodrigo Duterte's administration.

One-peso annual salary aside, how much does a presidential adviser really make? And what about other highly elected officials?

What the law says

In January 2020, Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11466, or the Salary Standardization Law (SSL), which details the four tranches of salary increase for government workers from 2020 to 2023.

The highest salaries, according to the compensation system, go to those in pay grades 30 to 33. RA 6758 specifies these positions as the following:

Source: RA 1146

As per DBM's Government and Manpower Information System, there are 1,163 individuals in regular positions with salary grades 30 to 33.

On top of the 33 salary grades, there are a total of eight steps, which is a hike or increase in pay.

The SSL is now in its third tranche which was made effective last January 1, 2022, while the last tranche under RA No. 11466, signed by Duterte, will be in 2023.

Those in SG 30 enjoy a base salary of P185,695 monthly, SG 31 have a base salary of P273,278 monthly, SG 32's salary starts at P325,807 monthly, while the SG 33 or the President's salary is at P411,382 monthly.

Source: RA 1146

The salaries mentioned above are the first step increment also known as the minimum or hiring rate. This will continue to increase depending on the merit of their performance and length of service.

Apart from their basic pay, government officials classified as SG 30 to 33 are also entitled to the following benefits:

  • Standard Allowances and Benefits - allowances and benefits given to all employees across agencies at prescribed rates, guidelines, rules and regulations like Personnel Economic Relief Allowance, Uniform/Clothing Allowance, and Year-End Bonus
  • Specific Purpose Allowance and Benefits – allowances and benefits given to employees across agencies under specific conditions and situations related to the actual performance of work, at prescribed rates, guidelines, rules and regulations such as Representation and Transportation Allowance, honoraria, and overtime pay
  • Incentives – being granted to reward an employee's loyalty to government service and contributions to the agency's continuing viable existence, and rewards for exceeding agency financial and operational performance targets, and to motivate employee efforts toward higher productivity such as Loyalty Award and Anniversary Bonus

Have salaries increased under Marcos?

Salaries have not yet changed under the new Marcos administration as the government's Compensation and Position Classification System is conducted every three years, according to Libiran.

This periodic review takes into account "the changes in skills and competency requirement in the bureaucracy, the relative demand for certain expertise, the possible erosion in the purchasing power due to inflation, and other factors."

"The government will conduct another round of compensation study in 2023 to serve as inputs in determining the salary adjustments that may be implemented in the succeeding fiscal years," the DBM undersecretary said.