MANILA - President Aquino has signed an executive order (EO) raising the salaries of state workers and granting additional benefits to uniformed and civilian personnel.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Sonny Coloma said the President signed the EO after arriving home today from the US-Asean Meet in California.
The EO provides for the first of four tranches under the proposed Salary Standardization Law (SSL), which reached deadlock when Congress adjourned.
Leaders of Congress failed to resolve their differences over Senator Antonio Trillanes' proposal to index retired uniformed officers' pension to the SSL.
The House of Representatives panel claimed the indexation was not funded under the 2016 budget. Aquino also said the measure would bloat the financial requirements of the government.
Budget Secretary Butch Abad has certified the availability of P57 billion in funds under the the 2016 General Appropriations Act for the first tranche of the SSL, Coloma said.
The SSL covers some 1.5 million government employees. Its implementation is spread out across four years.
READ: SSL to be retroactive - PNoy
During the time of President Arroyo, the executive prerogative to raise the salary of state worker was invoked four times, in 2001 and yearly between 2006 and 2008.
In 2001, Arroyo issued Executive Order 22 granting a 5 percent increase over monthly salaries of civilian and uniformed personnel.
In 2006, Arroyo issued Administrative Order No. 144 granting additional compensation of one thousand pesos to government employees.
The following year, she signed Executive Order No. 611 granting a 10 percent increase in basic monthly salaries of civilian government personnel and likewise increasing the subsistence allowance and hazard pay of military and uniformed personnel.
In 2008, Arroyo approved the increase of 10 percent over the basic monthly salaries of civilian, military and uniformed personnel through Executive Order (EO) No. 719.
President Joseph Estrada also exercised this prerogative, issuing EO 219 in 2000, which grants "salary adjustment to all government personnel."
During the time of President Corazon Aquino, three EOs were issued by her, one in 1986, and two in 1987, all of which hiked government sector pay.
Under Republic Act No. 6758, known as the "Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989" and PD 1597, the Chief Executive was granted the power to revise the compensation and classification system and approve the grant of additional allowances and other fringe benefits to employees of the national government.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto earlier explained that because any presidential order would merely implement the pay hike appropriation in the national budget, "then it will only be good and valid for 2016, for the budget year it was appropriated. Kung ang budget cover ay for 2016 lang, then the EO is for 2016 din lang."
"This means the SSL IV will have to be resubmitted to the next Congress that will convene in July," he said.
"This would provide time to further study the bill, polish it, remove the contentious provisions, probably further increase the salary for teachers, policemen, and soldiers, and raise military pension," he said. -- With a report from Alex Calda, DZMM; RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News