Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. expressed fear that the proposed Salary Standardization Law (SSL) may go in the way of the vetoed Social Security System (SSS) pension hike because of Malacañang’s position against increasing the pension of retired military and uniformed personnel.
This as he urged fellow lawmakers to set aside politics and find win-win solution to break the deadlock in the bicameral conference committee on the proposed wage hike for over 1.5 million government workers and retirees.
Marcos noted reports that a member of the Senate panel alluded to Malacañang’s hand behind the staunch stance of the panel of the House of Representatives against the “indexation” provision in the Senate version, which included increases in the pension of retired military and uniformed personnel.
“I appeal to my colleagues to set aside politics and look for ways to iron out the differing provisions in the proposal so we can finally give our state workers and retirees the benefits they deserve,” said Marcos.
However, Marcos said there must be a way to retain indexation for the benefit of “the people who risked their lives so we enjoy a peaceful life under and enjoy our freedoms.”
He noted that among those who would benefit from the increase, particularly the Association of Generals and Flag Officers (AGFO), have been critical of the administration over various issues such as the handling of the Mamasapano massacre and the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Malacañang’s position, supported by the House panel, is that that there is no sufficient funds available to implement indexation.
Some P57.9 billion was included in the P3 trillion 2016 national budget for the implementation of the first tranche of the SSL-4. Various reports estimate that P19 to P21 billion more is needed to fund the indexation of military and police retirees in the first year of implementation.
But Marcos believes a compromise solution may be reached if only the Palace would support it.
“It seems the Palace is not interested in finding a solution with the way they are blocking many of the initiatives to help our people,” Marcos lamented.
He noted that recently the President vetoed the proposed P2,000 hike in Social Security System pension and that Malacañang had likewise blocked proposals for income tax cuts that would benefit mostly ordinary wage earners.
“I don’t understand why Malacañang refused to support all these proposals that would have meant a lot for our people,” Marco said.####