MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) enforcers are set to get wage increase in the form of P6,000 monthly hazard pay, Chairman Danilo Lim told reporters on Wednesday, June 7.
Lim said the allowance should hopefully discourage enforcers from extorting from traffic violators and illegal sidewalk vendors. (READ: Forms of corruption in government, daily life)
Enforcers cannot perform their duties on "an empty stomach," he said, citing the current P11,000 monthly salary of regular workers and P6,000 to P8,000 of contractual workers who do not get employment benefits.
Lim maintained, however, that low pay "is not an excuse" for corruption.
The new MMDA chief said he asked for the wage raise during his meeting with the Metro Manila development committe of the House of Representatives. (READ: House bills seek to give MMDA more power over local governments)
In a text message to Rappler, Representative Winnie Castelo, chairman of the committee, confirmed that they are planning on increasing the budget of MMDA through the General Appropriations Act.
Lim said he has also asked the Department of Budget Management to increase the MMDA's budget by P6 billion for it to be able to raise the wages of all other workers.
With higher pay comes stricter policy, Lim said, reiterating he will immediately fire enforcers who engage in "kotong" (extortion). There are "no second chances" in MMDA's "internal cleansing."
He said national roads like EDSA remain congested because enforcers do not immediately respond to "obstructions," such as illegal vendors and motorists who violate traffic laws. (READ: MMDA to re-implement no-contact apprehension policy)
According to him, he has scolded a handful of enforcers, but not immediately dismissed them because he's following due process in relieving them.
Enforcers who are not trained enough to be employed will also be dismissed, he said.
This comes after the Commission on Audit reported in 2015 that more than 2,000 MMDA enforcers have not undergone and passed the required training and examination to perform traffic duties.
Currently, MMDA has more than 2,368 traffic enforcers, and they have been training them ever since. Lim said they are still in the process of weeding out those who still do not meet the qualifications.
Still, Lim said the MMDA cannot dismiss all the undertrained enforcers at once, or it would leave the roads bare. – Rappler.com