|Budget Secretary Florencio Abad explains a point at a Senate hearing; Senator Antonio Trillanes in inset.|
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MANILA, Philippines - Through a workaround by executive action, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad pointed out on Thursday, state workers can expect to enjoy an upward adjustment in their salary at least for this year.
"It is unfortunate that Congress failed to pass the proposed Salary Standardization Law of 2015 as a result of the deadlock on the issue of the indexation of pension of retired military and uniformed personnel," Abad disclosed, "But the Executive has options within its power to effect the proposed compensation adjustment. We are now looking at these options and the DBM will submit its recommendation to the President soon."
According to Abad, Section 13 of Presidential Decree No. 985 and Item 17 (iv) of Congress Joint Resolution No. 4, s. 2009 authorizes the President to "periodically revise or update, upon the recommendation of the DBM, the government’s Compensation and Position Classification System."
"Based on these laws, the President may effect a compensation adjustment that is still consistent with the compensation adjustment strategy under the proposed SSL 2015," he said.
"One option is to effect the implementation of Tranche 1 of the proposed SSL 2015 given that Congress has appropriated the amount of P57.91 billion in the 2016 Budget to cover this requirement," he added.
The Budget chief also vowed to push for the compensation adjustment to be retroactive to January 1, 2016.
"Trust that the DBM will forward a recommendation that is faithful to the parameters of the compensation adjustment strategy that we developed, based on the results of the Compensation and Benefits Study for the Public Sector, the same compensation adjustment strategy that is embodied in House Bill 6268 approved by the House of Representatives last December," Abad said.
Congress on Wednesday adjourned session without passing the proposed Salary Standardization 4 (SSL 4), which remained deadlocked at the bicameral conference committee level.
The impasse was caused by the insistence of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to include the pension of veterans and retired military and uniformed personnel in the coverage of the bill.
However, the salary adjustment scheme, which originated from the DBM, did not consider the pension of the uniformed retirees because this would have entailed a huge allocation.
In a separate statement, ACT partylist Representative Antonio Tinio blamed Trillanes for the non-passage of the SSL 4.
Trillanes is in the United States "on official mission" since last week.
Trillanes heads the civil service committee in charge of the SSL 4 and, as such, headed the Senate delegation to the bicameral conference committee tasked with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
"What sort of elected official goes on a trip abroad in the middle of contentious bicameral talks, making it virtually impossible for Congress to pass the bill before the recess?" Tinio said.
"This is gross dereliction of duty on his part. His twisted priorities and self-indulgence means that 1.5 million government employees will not receive the salary hikes and bonuses that they desperately need," he said.