Drilon vows swift passage of bill increasing civil servants’ pay

MANILA, Nov. 9 (PNA) – Senate President Franklin Drilon on Monday assured the swift approval of a bill increasing the salary of government workers after he and Senate finance committee chairperson Loren Legarda agreed to co-author the proposed Salary Standardization Law 2015.

“There is really a need to pursue the new version of the Salary Standardization Law to increase the purchasing power of millions of our state workers, who could not cope with the inflation,” said Drilon.

“The new compensation package being sought will fix the glaring discrepancies in the pay schemes between the public and private sectors,” he added.

Drilon said he will author the proposed measure in the Senate along with Legarda.

As early as last year, Drilon called on the Department of Budget and Management to review the government pay scale.

“Even if the Senate is busy working on the 2016 National Budget and the Bangsamoro Basic Law, we will make time for the swift passage of this measure to implement the raise in the salary scheme in government,” Drilon said.

Drilon vowed that the Senate will give the SSL 2015 “urgent legislative attention” alongside the proposed General Appropriations Bill, the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and other measures which the Senate and House of Representatives had agreed to pass before the 2016 campaign kicks off.

“We will immediately file the draft law. I will immediately talk to my colleagues to give it special attention. We will calendar it for committee hearing and plenary deliberation at the soonest time possible, so we can guarantee its passage by the end of the year,” Drilon said.

Drilon said the low pay rates in government sector discourage competitive and highly-skilled employees, even the fresh graduates, from working and staying in government.

He said it is the primary reason why agencies experience difficulties in filling up vacancies in their offices, which, per Department of Budget and Management record, resulted in 191,988 unfilled positions in 2015.

Drilon said the proposed SSL 2015 will also solve the exodus of government workers, who leave their posts to seek greener pastures in the private sector and abroad.

Drilon said there are enough provisions in the General Appropriations Bill to fund the implementation of the first tranche of the salary increase.

Under the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund (MPBF), according to Drilon, Php50.7 billion has been allotted for the salary increase.

“We will fast-track the passage of the Salary Standardization Law 2015 before the year is over. In this manner, all public employees can already expect to enjoy higher wages starting next year,” Drilon said.

Drilon said the proposed pay hike is “much-awaited and long overdue development” for the millions of government workers, who are paid much less compared to their counterparts in the private sector.

“In a way, passing the SSL 2015 would be a great Christmas gift for the thousands of public employees around the country,” Drilon said.

“I’m happy that we can finally move forward and make the SSL 2015 into law. There is really a need to pursue the new version of the Salary Standardization Law for the sake of our teachers, health workers, policemen and other government employees who receive wages that don’t fairly compensate the hard work they put in serving the people,” he added. (PNA)