Weathermen urge Noy to retain benefits
Janvic Mateo (Philstar.com) - February 5, 2016 - 3:03am

MANILA, Philippines - Workers at the state weather bureau asked President Aquino not to remove their magna carta benefits should the latter decide to come up with an executive order as an alternative to the doomed Salary Standardization Law (SSL).

Members of the Philippine Weathermen Employees Association (PWEA) on Friday held a noontime Mass and prayer rally as a show of unity against the possibility of a pay cut among science and technology and health workers in government service.

PWEA President Ramon Agustin said the activity, held at the Science Garden of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration in Quezon City, is part of the nationwide Black Friday protests organized by government workers who fear losing benefits should the SSL 2015 is approved.

While they are not against proposals for salary hikes for workers, Agustin noted that the wording of the repealing clause of the proposed measures pending in Congress may result in pay cuts instead of an increase.

The House version specifically states that laws inconsistent with the bill will be amended. It included Republic Acts 8349 and 7305 that granted benefits to science and technology personnel and health workers, respectively.

Agustin said they fear that the amendment would result in the removal of their benefits, which on average amount to P7,000 to P8,000 per month.

He said the new round of salary increases, if approved, would only amount to around P1,000 per month on the first tranche, resulting in a huge offset in their take-home pays.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad earlier said that the magna carta benefits of the workers will not be removed if the SSL 2015 is approved.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario Montejo also said that they will ensure and support moves to safeguard the benefits under the magna carta, which covers around 5,000 personnel from the department.

“Certain provisions to further strengthen the SSL 4 ,particularly in safeguarding the magna carta, have been discussed together with your employee representatives and already forwarded by the DOST’s legislative liaison group to our fellow workers in government presently working on the proposed SSL 4,” Montejo told DOST personnel.

“I would like to assure everyone that the concerned members of the legislature and that of the executive have accepted these proposals warmly,” he added.

Due to a deadlock in some of the provisions, Congress and Senate failed to approve the SSL 4 in the bicameral conference as the session adjourned earlier this week.

Some lawmakers urged President Aquino to instead issue an executive order to hike the salary of government workers in lieu of a law.

Agustin said they will remain vigilant to ensure that the executive order will not include provisions that could result in repeals of their benefits.

He called on the administration to consult with stakeholders in crafting the order.

AGUSTIN BENEFITS BLACK FRIDAY BUDGET SECRETARY FLORENCIO ABAD CONGRESS AND SENATE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY GEOPHYSICAL AND ASTRONOMICAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION MEMBERS OF THE PHILIPPINE WEATHERMEN EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT AQUINO PRESIDENT RAMON AGUSTIN WORKERS
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