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Higher MMDA budget proposed for 2020

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The minority bloc in the House of Representatives is pushing for a higher 2020 budget of the Metropolitan Manila Development to support the wage hike of its 8,000 employees.

In a press conference, Minority Leader Benny Abante said the PHP7.61 billion was cut from the MMDA's budget for 2020, which now leaves the agency with proposed funding of PHP4.11-billion.

Abante noted that the budget cut would affect the PHP697 million budget meant for the salary increases of its 8,000 employees, particularly its 3,000 traffic enforcers--who survive on PHP9,000 a month without benefits and security of tenure.

"We learned that of that PHP9,000, MMDA traffic enforcers only take home PHP8,000. This is not even minimum wage, and is a pittance, especially considering that they are tasked with the near-impossible task of managing traffic in Metro Manila," Abante said.

"Given that 75 percent of them are hired on job order basis and do not even earn minimum wage, how do we expect them to resist bribes from motorists? Hindi talaga makatarungan ang sitwasyon nila (Their situation is really not fair)," Abante added.

Abante stressed the need to restore the budget cuts to aid the MMDA in dealing with "monumental challenges", one of which is Metro Manila's deteriorating situation.

"We hope that our pleas to increase the budget of the MMDA find receptive ears among our colleagues in the Majority," he added.

House Deputy Minority Leader and Marikina Rep. Bayani Fernando, who was a former MMDA chief, also urged the House to increase the agency's budget, noting that the augmentation can be sourced from the Office of the President (OP), given that the MMDA is under the OP. 

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