MMDA asks additional P697M to fund enforcers' salary increase

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) requested for an increase to its approved P4.106 billion 2020 budget primarily to increase the salaries of the agency's job order personnel.

During the pre-plenary conference on Monday, September 16, the MMDA explained that P7.61 billion was cut from its proposed budget. This also meant a slash in the P697-million budget intended for salary increases of its traffic enforcers.

MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim said this component is their priority in requesting for budget augmentation.

"Alam naman ninyo na we have so many traffic enforcers na maghapon nakabilad 'yan sa araw, umulan, arawan. And kung titingnan ninyo 'yung take home pay nila napakaliit. So kahit paano madagdagan sana natin," he said.

(We have so many traffic enforcers who spend hours under the sun, rain or shine. If you look at their take home pay, it's very small. So we hope to increase it somehow.)

The MMDA had earlier said that it would ask the government to provide hazard pay for its traffic enforcers, after a study showed that lead was found in enforcers' blood, which could imply systemic inflammation.

The study also found that exposure to black carbon and heavy metal, which is experienced by enforcers on duty along EDSA, affects blood pressure and lung function.

MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia added that the requested budget increase could allow these employees to receive hazard pay. 

"'Yan naman eh walang benepisyo 'yan, hinihingan din namin ng increase kahit na at least P5,000 a month lang as allowance. Kasi nga alam naman natin ang suweldo ng pinakababa namin is close to P9,000 'yan. Napakababa talaga," Garcia said.

(They don't have benefits, so we're asking for an increase in our budget to be able to give them at least an allowance of P5,000 a month. Their salary is close to P9,000. It's really low.)

As minimum-wage workers, MMDA traffic enforcers earn P537 a day or around P11,800 monthly.

The House representatives who attended the conference expressed support for the budget increase, including House appropriations committee Vice Chairperson Alfred Vargas. – 

Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.