Press Release
May 26, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today proposed that this years budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs be augmented to help diplomatic officials and employees stationed abroad cope with fluctuations in the value of the foreign currencies of the countries where they are assigned in relation to the Philippine peso.

Pimentel presented the proposal in response to the complaint of foreign service officers and employees assigned in certain countries about their difficulties in meeting expenses due to the erosion of the value of their money caused by the appreciation of the currencies of their host countries.

He said some diplomatic personnel informed him that they were forced to get out of their rented apartments because they could no longer afford the rental fee owing to the increase in the value of the currency involved.

Likewise, he said their children had to be pulled out from their schools since the tuition fees and other expenses have jumped to a level that is beyond their financial means. Pimentel said this problem is being encountered particularly by foreign service officers and employees assigned to European countries where the Euro money has sharply appreciated in relation to the US dollar.

I am wondering if the Department of Foreign Affairs has any mechanism to address that problem because if there is none, I supposed that we put in a certain amount from the budget of the government to make up for the difference, Pimentel said.

To address this problem, Pimentel suggested that the budget of the DFA be augmented to the tune of P100 million to be taken from the P5 billion Kilos Asenso Support Fund or P3.69 billion Kalayaan Barangay Program Fund which were scrapped by the Senate finance committee, chaired by Sen. Manuel Villar.

Pimentel recalled that specific measures were adopted by the Senate under the 2005 national budget to address this problem. But he said these measures were not implemented when the 2005 budget was not approved and the 2004 budget was automatically reenacted instead.

The minority leader also called attention to the fact that the pay scales of DFA personnel are two salary grades lower than those prevailing in other departments of the executive branch. He emphasized the need to immediately solve the deficiency in the compensation rates for DFA.

Sen. Villar confirmed that the salaries for DFA personnel are two grades lower than those in other departments and agreed that corrective measures must be done.

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