Duterte certifies government pay hike bill as urgent measure

Duterte certifies government pay hike bill as urgent measure
Labor groups call for increase in national minimum wage.
The STAR / Boy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines —President Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent a bill seeking a fifth round of salary increases for government employees.

In a letter addressed to Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III dated December 13, Duterte requested for the immediate enactment of Senate Bill 1219.

The proposed measure is "An act modifying the salary schedule for civilian government personnel and authorizing the grant of additional benefits, and for other purposes."

The letter was also sent to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Presidential Legislative Liaison Office chief Adelino Sitoy.

This directive came more than a week before Christmas and before Congress takes a one-month recess.

Normally, bills need to be passed on first, second and third reading on separate days and members must have a copy of the bill in its final form three days before its passage. The 1987 Constitution, however, waives this rule "when the president certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency."

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto earlier urged Malacañang to submit its draft for the salary increases of government workers.

“Our early Christmas wish is for the Palace to submit the bill soon, so that Congress can debate on it and bring it to the President’s table for his signature before Christmas Day,” Recto said last month.

Recto stressed that there is funding for the proposed Salary Standardization Law (SSL) V in the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020.

According to Recto, a "pre-parked" budget worth P31.1 billion in the proposed 2020 budget is for the SSL V.

The P31.1 billion divided by 1.391 million civilian employees, further divided by 13 months would result to an average of P1,718 monthly increase per employee, Recto earlier said. — Patricia Lourdes Viray with a report from Paolo Romero





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