• Pay hike bill good as passed – Belmonte

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    THE House of Representatives will approve a measure that seeks to grant higher wages to government workers even if President Benigno Aquino 3rd will not certify it as urgent, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. said Monday.

    He said House Bill 6268, known as the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) of 2015, will be passed within the week.

    The bill provides that employees under Salary Grades 1 to 11, which comprise 52 percent of the government workforce, will enjoy a tax-free 14th month pay and performance-based bonus.

    Those under Salary Grades 1 to 11 will earn around P9,000 to P20,000 a month under the proposed SSL 2015.

    “That’s a done deal. That’s for sure. We already passed it on second reading and we could have passed it on third reading the last time we were here because we thought it could only be done if the President certifies it as urgent,” Belmonte told reporters.

    If the President certifies a measure as urgent, the bill can be approved by Congress on second and third reading on the same day.

    “But considering that there’s still time anyway, the President decided against it [issuing an urgent certification]. We have enough time to do it this week. Definitely, we will do [pass]it,” Belmonte added.

    The House failed to approve the measure on Monday for lack of quorum. A roll call was not held and the session was adjourned at 6:06 pm.

    But Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said the House should reconsider its second reading approval of the bill and amend it to include salary increases for the bulk of government employees.

    “We recognize that SSL 2015 will indeed grant a substantial increase in the total compensation because, on top of a relatively small salary increase for low and middle income earners, other compensation in the form of the 14th month pay and an Enhanced Performance Based Bonus will be given. But the resounding demand of majority of our government employees is for substantial increases in their monthly salaries,” Tinio argued.

    “Higher basic pay will better benefit the people in terms of everyday finances and retirement, unlike additional bonuses,” he added.

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