Romulo urges bicameral compromise on SSL

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Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo today said a compromise should be reached soon by the bicameral conference committee to ensure the passage of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL-4) which would hike the compensation of 1.53 million government personnel over a period of four years starting 2016.

“We only have until Wednesday this week to pass the proposed P226-billion increase for government workers. The amount required for the first tranche is already incorporated in the approved budget for this year,” he said.

“I am confident that the differences between the House and Senate versions will be bridged. Otherwise our people will be in for another major disappointment,” Romulo said.

The disagreement over the passage of the SSL stems from the inclusion in the Senate version of the pension for retired military personnel. The House however did not allocate funds for this in their version of the GAA for 2016 which was approved by Congress and signed by the President.

The Senate has said that any increase in the pension of active service personnel of the PNP and AFP should also be enjoyed by retired personnel. It proposed that funding for this purpose be included in the 2017 budget.

The 2016 budget allocates P57.9 billion for the first tranche of the proposed increase. At least P19 to 21 billion is needed to fund the pension hike for retired military personnel.

“The law increasing the SSS pension of senior citizens was vetoed. The proposed broad-based cut in income taxes was junked. We are now faced with a possible strike out if the SSL-4 is not passed. This puts under question the inclusive growth mantra of this administration,” Romulo said.