In a message that was originally a reply to a healthcare professional who inquired about a salary increase via Twitter, Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto explained why doing so isn't possible at the moment.
"As our modern-day heroes, you (medical frontliners) deserve all the gratitude, support, and even financial compensation that we can give you... Ngunit hinihingi ko po ang inyong paumanhin at pag-unawa — hindi natin kayang taasan ang sweldo ninyo sa ngayon (But I'm asking for your understanding — we're currently unable to give you a raise," he said on Facebook.
First, the city government is adhering to the Salary Standardization Law for base pay of regular and casual employees, including the current adjustment from Salary Grade-11 (P22,316 to P24,391 per month) to SG-15 (P32,053 to P34,801).
Sotto said the city government was maxed out in terms of staff benefits: "Nakita niyo naman kung paano nating dinagdagan kaagad ang mga bonuses nung 2019. Sa COVID hazard pay naman nung ECQ, opo nahirapan ang HR sa implementasyon, inaprubahan din ang maximum sa ilalim ng national guidelines."
(You've seen how we immediately augmented bonuses last year. When it came to the COVID-19 hazard pay during the enhanced community quarantine, human resources had a hard time implementing, but still approved the maximum under national guidelines.)
It didn't help that funding is limited, especially with a smaller budget and Personal Services Cap for next year. He said local revenue fell 30 percent due to the pandemic.
As for the salary of local government unit's emergency hiring via contract of service, Vico made an appeal to avoid comparisons with regular employees considering the difference in situation and circumstances.
Sotto said the city governmenr was working on HR rationalization, regularization, and promotion, prioritizing the city health department, Pasig City General Hospital, and Pasig City Children's Hospital. The city council also approved the creation of over 1,500 new regular positions.
Vico said, "Kung puwede lang, tataasan ko ang sweldo ng lahat — regular man o emergency hire (If I could, I would hike everyone's wages — regular or emergency hire).
"We will continue to do our best for you as you continue to protect us day in and day out. Hindi rin kami titigil sa aming efforts para pagandahin pa ang sistema at mapabuti ang serbisyo natin sa mga Pasigueño (We won't stop in our efforts to improve the system and our service to residents)."