• Higher police, military retirement pay opposed

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    THE House of Representatives will likely shoot down a proposal to increase the retirement pay of military and police personnel because doing so will cut the budget for social services and hike budget deficit, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales 2nd said Thursday.

    Gonzales was referring to the pitch made by Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, who wanted the increase in pension included in the proposed Salary Standardization Law (SSL) 4 which increases the salary of all government workers on top of granting them a 14th month pay.

    “They (retired uniform men and women) are not members of the GSIS/SSS, so their pension is a recurring expense of the budget, sourced from taxpayers money. Assuming that we give in to the proposal, it would require P19 billion in first year, then P26 billion then P30 billion because this [increase]is in perpetuity. You will have to cut the budget for social services, healthcare, infrastructure [to accommodate this],” Gonzales said in a radio interview, referring to Government Service Insurance System and Social Security System.

    The P3.002 trillion budget for 2016 allotted P57.9 billion for the SSL 4 measure, excluding Trillanes’ proposal which is under the Senate version of the bill.

    “Kami naman, kung may pera, walang problema. Eh mismo DBM na nagsabi walang pera (If we can afford it, then there’s no problem. But the DBM already said we have no funding available for that),” Gonzales stressed.

    “The Senate should have told us where would we get the money for their proposal.

    Trillanes should consider that because of this insistence, the salary increase for the rest of the employees is being delayed,” the lawmaker said.

    “The government wants to maintain a 2 percent deficit [out]of GDP. If this (increased pension) will pass, we’ll have a bigger budget deficit because we have nothing to source the fund from,” Gonzales added.

    Gonzales clarified that the proposed SSL 4 does not deprive employees of the Departments of Health, Science and Technology, Social Welfare and Development and Education of their benefits provided under their respective Magna Carta.

    “They won’t be affected because the Magna Carta benefits are funded. The conflict is in drafting the rules and regulations. In our version, it’s the DBM that will craft the rules…what they want is for them to be included. This is under the proposed amendments being discussed in the Bicam,” Gonzales said. “We will make the necessary corrections concerning the Magna Carta.”

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