DFA hits 'misleading' report on envoys' salaries
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday, August 3, criticized a Commission on Audit (COA) report that includes 7 ambassadors among the Philippine government's highest paid officials.
"The COA Report on Salaries and Allowances for 2014 inaccurately indicates several Philippine ambassadors as among the highest paid officials of the Philippine government," the DFA said in a statement.
The agency explained that Philippine ambassadors receive salaries based on the Philippines' Salary Standardization Law, "like other members of the Philippine civil service."
"Philippine ambassadors, however, are provided with official residences while they are assigned abroad. The rental fee for the official residence is paid by the Philippine government directly to the owner of the property and not to the personal account of an ambassador," the DFA said.
The agency pointed out, "The COA report computed these rental fees as part of the allowances of Philippine ambassadors, which is misleading."
The DFA explained, too, that allowances of Philippine ambassadors follow a United Nations index. This index "is based on the living standards and economic conditions of countries where the Philippine government maintains embassies and consulates."
The DFA issued this statement after COA on Friday, July 31, reported that 7 of the Philippines' 10 highest paid officials come from the DFA.
COA: China envoy 'highest paid'
Based on the COA report, the Philippines' highest paid official is Philippine Ambassador to China Erlinda Basilio.
COA said Basilio's salaries and allowances amount to P16.44 million ($359,998).
Basilio's basic salary is P947,352 ($20,740), with an additional P146,318 ($3,200) as "bonus, incentives and benefits". But the DFA allocated to Basilio P15.35 million ($336,190) in allowances since she is assigned to China – one of the most sensitive posts.
COA named the following as the Philippines' highest paid officials:
- Ambassador Erlinda Basilio (China) – P16.44 million ($359,998)
- Government Service Insurance System President and General Manager Robert Vergara – P12.57 million ($275,307)
- Ambassador Enrique Manalo (United Kingdom) – P12.34 million ($270,230)
- Ambassador Lourdes Yparraguirre (Mission to the United Nations, New York) – P11.75 million ($257,320)
- Consul General Maria Teresa Taguiang (Consulate General, Osaka, Japan) – P10.9 million ($238,706)
- Ambassador Esteban Conejos Jr (Mission to the World Trade Organization) – P10.7 million ($234,327)
- Ambassador Philippe Jones Lhuillier (Portugal) – P10.56 million ($231,261)
- Ambassador Maria Cleofe Natividad (Germany) – P9.86 million ($215,930)
- Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco Jr – P9.853 million ($215,778)
- Development Bank of the Philippines Executive Vice President Anthony Robles – P9.851 million ($215,746)
The ROSA covers the pay of cabinet members, court officials, and officers of government corporations. It excludes the pay of the president, lawmakers, and local government officials.
Before DFA allowances were included in the computation, executives of government-owned or controlled corporations dominated the top 10. – Rappler.com