How Much Do Philippine Politicians Earn?
With all the recent brouhaha about corruption and “lifestyle checks”, you might be wondering, “How much do these public servants actually make? Surely the salary must be amazing if so many people want to become politicians, right?”
Well, not really. The highest elected position in the land, President, has a salary of P120,000 gross a month. Which might sound like a lot, but when you figure that CEOs of companies listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange earn millions a month, it’s almost negligible. Isn’t a president basically the CEO of a country? Plus, the President’s P120,000 doesn’t include all the taxes and deductions, so his base monthly take-home salary is even less.
To give you a better idea of how much your public officials are making, we’ve created a table to show you the maximum gross monthly salary each position can have in their salary grade, from Sangguniang Panlungsod members in highly urbanized cities, to the President of the Philippines. Want to find out how much your mayor is making per month? Here you go:
*disclaimer: figures taken from the highest step (step 8) in each salary grade. The salary matrix used is from Joint Resolution No. 4, and the salary grade assignments from Republic Act No. 6758 and the Department of Budget and Management. Highly urbanized cities are cities with a minimum population of two hundred thousand (200,000) inhabitants, as certified by the National Statistics Office, and with the latest annual income of at least Fifty Million Pesos (P50,000,000.00) based on 1991 constant prices, as certified by the city treasurer.
It seems that P85,000 a month is not a lot of money, considering all the responsibilities of a mayor of a large, highly urbanized city (component city mayors also get the same monthly income). But it’s not the salary that attracts people to mayoral jobs: it’s the public service, the opportunity to better their communities — not to mention the millions of pesos in public funds. For example, according to a report by the Bureau of Local Government Finance, Makati City had a total current operating income of around P10.7 billion in 2012, and total current operating expenditures of around P6.6 billion, spent on general public services (around P2.8 billion), education, culture, sports, and manpower development (around P1.3 billion), social welfare (around P170 million) and other expenses.
Of course, officials of smaller cities and municipalities get less income. Municipal mayors in Metro Manila can get a maximum monthly gross of P73,071 (outside MM: P67,668), and their vice mayors, P62,646 (outside MM: P58,006). But even small cities still get millions in income for the local government to control. Gingoog City, a second class city in northern Mindanao, had a total current operating income of around P500 million, and total current operating expenditures of around P436 million in 2012.
And as for senators, according to a speech by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago from 2013, they have many sources of income apart from the monthly gross salary stipulated by law. She said that chairing two oversight committees nets a senator an extra P70,000 a month, while being a member of 7 oversight committees (which is the average) earns a cool extra P210,000. Senate officers (Senate President, Senate Protempore, Majority Leader, and Minority Leader) get honorariums. That’s to say nothing of allowances and discretionary funds made available to senators. Senator Santiago claimed that, depending on positions they hold, senators can take home anywhere from P600,000 to P5 million monthly.
There’s actually a bill that was proposed last year, Senate Bill No. 1689, which aims to raise all government employee salaries, from civilians to uniformed and military personnel. Under this bill, the lowest government salary grade will shoot up from P9,000 a month to P16,000.
But the higher positions will get a base pay rise too — the President will get P500,000; the VP, Senate President, and Speaker of the House get up to P497,151; and senators up to P405,256. President Aquino cautioned against this bill, saying that the government might not be able to afford the wage hikes without going into debt. “Before we think of raising salaries, government benefits, it might be better if we think of paying our obligations to former employees of the government,” he said.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, the author of the bill, claims higher government salaries will attract more competent individuals to work for the government, and curb corruption.
With all the accusations of corruption flying around, “lifestyle checks” are again a hot topic. The generals of the Philippine National Police have volunteered for these, in the wake of accusations that policemen are benefiting from illegal activities. Vice President Jejomar Binay has said that he and his family are open to one of these checks “any time”.
Guidelines for lifestyle checks are supposed to be issued in the next two weeks. If you’re in a city, now you know how much your mayor and vice mayor make — or are supposed to make, by law. Do you think your mayors could pass a lifestyle check?