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Malacañang to wait for Congress’ nod on proposed SSL 4

MANILA, Philippines – The Palace will await Congress’ final decision on the proposed Salary Standardization Law (SSL) 4, a Palace official said Wednesday.
“We await the final decision of Congress on the proposed SSL 4 that is still pending with the bicameral conference committee,” Presidential Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma. Jr. said.
The bicameral conference committee on the proposed SSL 4 remained deadlocked as lawmakers adjourn for the election campaign. Lawmakers will go on recess this weekend.
The House of Representatives has not changed its stand, rejecting the Senate version of the draft SSL 4 “because there is no funding for it”.
The lower house version would have the pay hike cover the 1.527 million workers in the bureaucracy, including the military and uniformed personnel (MUP), such as those from the Philippine National Police, Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection, and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
The Senate version includes an indexation of the pension of 211,584 MUP retirees to the envisioned salary increase of active-duty personnel. The House conference rejected the Senate version because of the funding problem.
On the alleged “scrapping” of the Magna Carta benefits in SSL 4, Secretary Coloma quoted Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as saying last January 25 that “the Magna Carta benefits of scientists, social and health workers, and other government employees shall not be repealed in the proposed SSL 2015″.
“There is no provision in the proposed law that would diminish or remove the existing Magna Carta benefits of our government personnel. In fact, SSL 2015—as in the previous SSL 3—recognizes the Magna Carta benefits as among the authorized incentives in the total compensation framework,” said Secretary Abad.
On the non-passage of important legislation, Coloma emphasized that the government has worked hard to pass those priority bills.
“The administration has done its part in pushing for the enactment of priority legislation, such as the FOI (Freedom of Information) and anti-dynasty bills. As representatives of national and local constituencies, our legislators’ actions are based on their appreciation of their constituents’ sentiments,” he said.
Coloma said the Palace affirms its support for the principles of FOI and the need for an enabling law to implement the constitutional provision regarding political dynasties.
“We trust that our people will reflect their support for these principles when they cast their votes in the next elections,” he added.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.