4 February 2016
Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (09209220817)
Tinio blasts Trillanes for failure to pass pay hike bill as Congress goes on break
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio is laying the blame squarely on Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for the failure of Congress to pass the proposed law granting a new round of salary increases for state workers before it went on a four-month long recess yesterday.
Tinio blasted Trillanes for leaving the country in the midst of a deadlock between the chambers of Congress on the final version of the pay hike bill and as the legislature was counting down the days before going on an extended break due to the upcoming national and local elections.
Trillanes reportedly left for the United States “on official mission” last week.
Tinio pointed out that Trillanes is the chairperson of the Senate Civil Service Committee in charge of the proposed new Salary Standardization Law (SSL 4), and as such, headed the Senate delegation to the Bicameral Conference Committee tasked with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
“What sort of elected official goes on a trip abroad in the middle of contentious bicameral talks, making it virtually impossible for Congress to pass the bill before the recess? This is gross dereliction of duty on his part. His twisted priorities and self-indulgence means that 1.5 million government employees will not receive the salary hikes and bonuses that they desperately need,” said Tinio. “SSL 4 would have provided pay hikes from January onwards. As it stands, Congress can only work on final approval of SSL 4 when it resumes session on May 23. In the meantime, public sector employees get nothing, thanks to the good Senator.”
The bicameral conference between the two chambers of Congress was deadlocked after the Senate panel led by Trillanes insisted on a provision that would index the pension of military retirees to the salary increases provided in SSL 4. The House panel objected because of lack of funding. The Senate proposal would cost taxpayers an additional P18 billion for the first year of implementation. “The responsible thing to do would have been to settle the issue before leaving. But as far as Senator Trillanes is concerned, it appears that a so-called ‘international forum’ in the United States is more important than addressing the day-to-day needs of the country’s civil servants, who last received a salary adjustment in 2012.”
Tinio noted that P58 billion has been set aside in the 2016 national budget for salary increases and bonuses and incentives of the country’s 1.5 million government employees. However, the increases cannot be implemented without the enactment of SSL 4.
Tinio also criticized Senate President Franklin Drilon for authorizing Trillanes’ departure and failing to resolve the impasse before the recess. “Is the Senate a collegial body where rule by majority prevails, or is it an exclusive club where the welfare of millions of Filipinos can be held hostage by the whims of one Senator?” ###