FACT CHECK: FB post on 13th-month pay law of Marcos Sr. needs context

Dec. 18, 2022

CLAIM: An old graphic about the signing of the 13th-month pay law by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was reposted by Facebook (FB) page Marcos Notebook.

Para sa kaalaman ng lahat! #SalamatAPOLAKAY,” its caption reads.

The graphic was taken from Senator Imee Marcos’ social media platform, which was first uploaded in 2019.



Even before Marcos Sr. signed Presidential Decree (PD) 851 on December 16, 1975, which required “all employers to pay their employees a 13th-month pay,” some employers were already giving this extra monthly pay. Section 2 of Marcos’ decree stated: “Employers already paying their employees a 13th-month pay or its equivalent are not covered by this Decree.”

Reports have credited late Negrense labor leader and legislator Zoilo de la Cruz Jr. for drafting and pushing for the enactment of the 13th-month pay proposal. In fact, he was dubbed the “Father of 13th Month Pay.”

When PD 851 was issued, it only covered employees “receiving a basic salary of not more than Php 1,000 a month, regardless of the nature of their employment.” Government employees, household helpers, and workers who were paid by commission were not entitled to receive 13th-month pay.

Marcos’ successor, the late Corazon Aquino, expanded the law through Memorandum Order No. 28, removing the pay ceiling for the 13th-month pay for all rank-and-file employees. The amended PD 851, however, did not grant such benefit to government workers. 

In 1988, Aquino signed Republic Act 6686 which finally granted government employees a Christmas bonus equivalent to a month’s salary and an additional cash gift of Php1,000.

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