Finally the Government is doing something sensible and smart – raising the salaries and wages of Government employees to a competitive level. The Department of Budget Management (DBM) through its Head, Sec. Rolando Andaya has endorsed to Congress a proposal to increase next year’s budget for Government Services, amounting to Php426 Billion, or 42.3Billion pesos up from the budget allocated this year.

This will translate to an increase for Grade Level 1 10 (thanks to Promdiliving for the correction) Government employees (ex. entry level Teachers, Nurses) from the current salary of Php12,000 to about Php18,000 – at least a bit competitive to entry level in the Call Center Industry.

Would this be enough? Probably not, but at least it should help. Still Government salaries is among the lowest in the Philippines – an ironic reality when in fact running the government is much more like running a business. Yes it has become a business – a business of getting kickbacks and graft on most government projects for politicians and government officials. No wonder even our Policemen and Military suffered major credibility problems – when some of their members directly involved in crimes and illegal activities just to “augment” their financial resources.

While it is an unacceptable reasoning, still low income, which is most of the time not enough to cover basic needs have enticed some policemen to be “creative” in the streets. Low government salaries made the teachers got buried in debts from loan sharks and opportunist lenders, forced government health workers (doctors, nurses) to seek employment overseas as helpers, caregivers, or nursing aids.

Other countries like Singapore have programs that ensure its government officials, the police, the public school teacher and every government employee is well taken cared of. And giving higher salaries and benefits are the key. Can the Philippine Government afford to raise the salaries of its government workers to a comfortable level? Do we have the money? The answer is a big yes. The question is priority. Is the Government allocating a bigger chunk of its budget for the government workers? The answer is no – because budget is limited – which is a total stupidity.

The Government can afford allocating Billions of pesos as “pork barrel” or allowances to Senators and Congressmen, and a big portion goes to corruption. Lots of money were lost in uncollected taxes, smuggled items and kickbacks. We have lots of money – but sadly, most of these money go to the hand of the few.

Imagine if we get rid of those pork barrel allowances and instead, have a centralized purchasing and funding of projects. What if we raise the salaries of government workers to a level that they can be comfortable. What if we utilize the IT Solutions to systemic problems like tax collection and processing of documents and get rid of red tapes and unnecessary processes. What if the Government has Political Will and is not beholden to certain individuals.

These things are a fantasy – that each Filipino will continue to dream about everyday until his last breath to the next generation till kingdom come. Those would be the words of people in total surrender, of defeatism, of hopelessness. Or we can choose to stand and make a difference – and make sure that the next election, we support people who have political will, who have genuine interest for service and real change.

This is where bloggers can contribute – let’s search and seek out the deserving Filipinos to lead, lets educate our fellow citizens about being wise in their choices, and let Politics be an arena for public service and not of personalities and clans. In the coming days, a new site www.ThePresidentiables.com will be launched and will feature every aspiring Filipino Presidentiable – all of his qualifications and credentials. Let’s start early, let’s seek the best Leader that will lead us to prosperity.

Peace.