The House of Representatives on Wednesday finally mustered a quorum in its plenary session and approved on third and final reading the proposed Salary Standardization Law (SSL) of 2015.
Lawmakers cast their votes during a roll call during Wednesday’s session. The result: 170 affirmative, 5 negative, 1 abstention.
The approval came after an exchange between Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza and House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales.
Atienza manifested on the floor that there were only 140 congressmen on the floor, not enough to muster a quorum.
Gonzales and presiding officer Deputy Speaker Roberto Puno insisted on the Secretariat’s count that there were 176 congressmen on the floor.
Gonzales clarified that under previous rulings, congressmen in their private offices in the House premises are counted as part of the quorum even if they are not inside the session hall.
Atienza tried to insist that the Secretariat reflect those who are present on the floor and separate them from those considered present. This was dismissed.
With the approval, the bill will be tackled by the Senate, which will have the option to produce its own version or adopt the House version. Adopting the House version will mean the bill will be immediately sent to President Benigno Aquino for his signature.
House Bill 6268 or the proposed Salary Standardization Law of 2015 (SSL 4), principally authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., will modify the compensation and position classification system of civilian government personnel and the base pay schedule of military and uniformed personnel in the government to be implemented in four tranches, starting January 1, 2016.
Under SSL 4, those lowest ranked personnel under Salary Grade 1, who are now receiving P9,000 per month, will get P9,478/month under Step 1 of the first tranche, P9,981 under the second tranche, P10,510 under the third tranche; and P11,068 under the final tranche.
Those in the highest level of Salary Grade 33, who are presently receiving P120,000/month, will get P160,000/month in the first tranche, P215,804 in the second tranche, P289,4010 in the third tranche, and P388,096 in the final tranche.
The bill will likewise strengthen the link between pay and performance through an enhanced performance-based bonus system, temper the cost of benefit while maximizing the benefits of employees, and allow higher take-home pay, especially for government personnel belonging to the lower salary grades, according to proponents.
The bill, co-authored by Majority Floor Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali M. Gonzales II, Minority Leader and San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, Committee on Appropriations chairman and Davao City Third District Rep. Isidro T. Ungab, and Committee on Accounts chairman and Romblon Rep. Eleandro Jesus F. Madrona, will result in a weighted average increase of 45 percent in the compensation of all salary grades and raise compensation of government personnel to at least 70 percent of the private sector rate.
Previously, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad informed lawmakers that the SSL 4 will be effected through a combination of a salary increase, a 14th month pay, and an enhanced performance-based bonus to be implemented over a four-year period, from January 1, 2016 to January 1, 2019.
Abad explained the SSL 4 is based on Joint Resolution No. 4 enacted by Congress in 2009, mandating the review of the compensation and position classification system after three years from the last year of the adjustment to determine the competitiveness of government pay in relation to the private sector and the compensation strategy to bring government pay closer to market rate.
Ungab said SSL 4’s first tranche this coming January will need a total funding of P57.9 billion, while funding requirements for the succeeding compensation adjustments are: second tranche, P54.3 billion; third tranche, P65.9 billion; and fourth tranche, P47.5 billion.
The bill provides the Compensation and Position Classification System (CPCS) shall apply to all civilian government personnel in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches, Constitutional Commissions and other Constitutional Offices, Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) not covered by Republic Act 10149, and local government units (LGUs). It shall cover government personnel whether regular, contractual or casual, appointive or elective; and on full-time or part-time basis.
The military personnel of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the uniformed personnel of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the National Mapping and Resource-Information Authority (NAMRIA) shall be covered by the Base Pay Schedule.
The remuneration for military and uniformed personnel shall be reckoned on a separate Total Compensation Framework, to be authorized by the President of the Philippines, which shall include: base pay; longevity pay, standard allowances and benefits; specific-purpose allowances and benefits; and, incentives and performance-based pay.
Congress has provided funding in the proposed 2016 budget for the SSL 2015.
news source: abs-cbnnews.com