• Palace mulls tax-free bonuses for workers

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    The Aquino administration is open to reducing taxes on the incentives granted to workers outside their salary, a Palace official said on Saturday.

    Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office made the announcement following the dialogue of President Benigno Aquino 3rd with the labor sector on May 1.

    “Our workers are pushing for more take-home pay because there are minimum wage workers who secured benefits outside their salary, such as productivity bonus with a new collective bargaining agreeement (CBA), and yet they can’t enjoy the additional incentives because taxes are also imposed on these incentives. This is what they want the government to address,” the secretary told Radyo ng Bayan.

    “They want the government to somehow let them earn their additional benefits so that their take-home pay won’t be further reduced. We will have continuous evaluation and consultations to address this concern,” Coloma added.

    Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th, an ally of the administration, has proposed amending the Salary Standardization Law to raise the monthly base pay of a government employee from P9,000 to P16,000. Trillanes’ proposal will likewise jack up the President’s monthly salary to P1 million from P120,000, while the Cabinet secretaries’ monthly salary will hover at P600,000 to P800,000.

    Trillanes argued that hiking the monthly salary of go–vernment employees will dissuade them from engaging in corrupt practices.

    Coloma, however, maintained that funding the unpaid pensions of soldiers and policemen took precedence over salary hikes for government workers simply because the state is short of funding.

    “The President has appealed that we also look into the reality that we still need to find sources of funding for those pension and retirement benefits. We wanted to establish a funding mechanism for these which is separate from the national budget, but we have yet to achieve that,” he added.

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