Estrada turns 80, gives Manila workers a raise
As he celebrates his 80th birthday on Wednesday, Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada on Monday announced a new round of salary increases for city hall employees.
Estrada broke the good news during the morning flag ceremony at city hall, earning applause from the thousands of rank-and-file workers and career officials.
“I’ve seen your hard work and dedication,” Estrada told the employees, “so as my gift to you, you will receive another increase in your monthly pay.”
Since becoming mayor in 2013, Estrada said it had been one of his “birthday wishes” to uplift the lives of city hall workers, especially with the steady increase of the daily costs of living and the school expenses of their children and dependents.
The across-the-board increase in the regular employees’ monthly pay would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017, according to city personnel office chief Miguelita Alonzo. Each employee’s monthly pay will be increased by 10 percent, he added.
The city government has allocated P250 million for the salary adjustments of 8,830 regular employees based on the regulations set by the Department of Budget and Management.
On Jan. 5, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno issued National Budget Circular No. 568 and Local Budget Circular No. 113 that allows agencies and local government units to adjust compensation retroactively effective Jan. 1 under Executive Order No. 201 issued in 2016.
The EO mandated compensation adjustments in four annual tranches starting in 2016 until 2019.
Inheriting a bankrupt city with an unpaid debt of P5 billion when he assumed office in 2013, Estrada said he has worked hard to regain Manila’s financial stability.
In November 2014, he released the employees’ long-delayed benefits, and implemented the fourth tranche of their salary increase that had been denied to them by the previous mayor.
Back then, all government employees were scheduled to receive the fourth tranche of wage hikes in 2012 under the Salary Standardization Law but the previous city administration reportedly claimed that there were no funds available.
In a related development, the Sandiganbayan has allowed former Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada to attend the 80th birthday of his father, former president and current Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada, on Wednesday.
In the minutes of the proceedings dated April 10, the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division granted the motion for furlough of the former senator on April 19, 2017 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The Sandiganbayan granted such motion of the former lawmaker in line with the “Filipino customs and traditions” as well as the giving of respect and recognition to the parents and the elders.
It was learned that in the original motion of the younger Estrada, he has asked for a “12-hour furlough” from April 18 to 19, saying so he could help in the preparations of their family for the birthday of his father.
However, the Sandiganbayan only granted a six-hour furlough.
The former senator is facing graft and plunder charges before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly receiving PHP183.793 million in “kickbacks” from his Priority Development Assistance Fund or “pork barrel” through the bogus non-government organizations of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
He has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City since 2014 owing to the non-bailable offense of plunder. With PNA