No fat paychecks for Cabinet officials – Abad

Rappler.com
Contrary to a Commission on Audit report, the Department of Budget and Management says the Aquino administration's Cabinet secretaries do not receive fat paychecks

MANILA, Philippines – Contrary to a Commission on Audit (COA) report, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the Aquino administration’s Cabinet secretaries do not receive fat paychecks.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said on Tuesday, November 27, the figures highlighted in the COA report include agency or work-related expenses.

The COA said in a September 2012 audit report that Cabinet secretaries received fat paychecks amounting to at least P99,000 a month.

“In the COA report, the final computation of our yearly pay actually includes large items that are not part of our take-home wages. Our salaries look high on paper, but a good chunk of the total figure is actually for agency or work-related expenses, which require exhaustive liquidation reports and a lot of accountability from our end,” Abad said.

Abad said Cabinet secretaries only receive a net pay of P77,000 a month under the Salary Standardization Law.

However, he said the annual figures cited in the COA report include Extraordinary and Miscellaneous Expenses (EMEs), which amount to P220,000 and P72,000 a year, respectively. These are not considered as part of the salaries of Cabinet members.

Abad explained that these EMEs are designated for official or work-related items that may include annual subscriptions to journals and publications as well as other items allowed under the General Appropriations Act.

He added the full amount of these EMEs are subject to scrutiny and liquidation.

Furthermore, Abad said the basic salary of a Cabinet secretary is also subject to monthly deductions, such as health insurance and retirement insurance premiums which total roughly P8,500 a year.

Income tax deductions also account for 32% of their gross monthly pay, shrinking further a Cabinet secretary’s take-home pay.

“This brings the average gross annual compensation of a Cabinet member to approximately P1,336,000, with average annual deductions worth P403,353.72,” Abad said.

“The net annual total compensation, on average, is approximated at P932.646.28, sharply contrasting the benefits received by top officials in government-owned or -controlled corporations,” he added.

He also said Cabinet secretaries do not receive the monthly transportation allowance if they use an official government vehicle.

The budget chief said the administration remains committed to its so-called Tuwid na Daan platform of governance.

“The last thing we want is to make a joke out of our own campaign for clean and honest leadership,” Abad said. – Rappler.com