Monday, March 26, 2007

EO 611: an exercise of Presidential prerogative!

This is an addendum to my post of March 19th on the impending 10% pay hike of government workers. I stated (quoting a Senate press release) that by March 23rd whether or not the President signs the bill authorizing the salary increase - it will just the same, become a law. Indeed, on March 23rd, all the major dailies carried a news item that the 10% salary increase was approved by the President.

Just to straighten things out. The President did not sign the bill into a law. Instead, she issued Executive Order No. 611 on March 14th, ten days earlier than the statutory deadline of March 23rd. In todays news from the Senate, re-electionist Senator Ralph Recto, the principal author of the bill noted that the EO is a "carbon copy" of the Congress-approved bill that was sent to Malacanang on February 22nd. In effect, with EO 611, the bill granting the same benefits to government workers was effectively vetoed.

Is the President justified in jumping the gun on the Senate and the House? A closer look at the bill shows that it contains a provision repealing PD 1597 of the Marcos era, giving Presidents the authority to grant allowances. If she had approved the Congress version of the pay hike, that flexibility to give government employees additional benefits in the future would have been lost.

Anyway, as Senator Recto puts its: "The President can take the credit for as long as the government workers can have the cash".

Monday, March 19, 2007

10% salary increase to become law by March 23rd?

I've been trying to track down the proposed bill granting government workers a 10% salary increase since Congress adjourned for the May elections, and a March 15th press release from the Senate is the closest and the latest I got so far.

Here it is: the bill was transmitted to Malacanang on February 22nd. Under the Constitution, the President is given 30 days to act on the bill otherwise, it will lapse into law. Of course, the President would not allow the bill to become a law without her signature. In December last year, she made a pronouncement that the pay hike of government workers be given priority. As a matter of fact, a news item in the government portal lists the pay hike bill is one of those lined for signature of the President either on March 23rd or 24th.

It's almost certain that state workers including those in LGUs and GOCCs are assured of a windfall comes July 2007, the effectivity of the increase. We have yet to see though how the increase will eventually be implemented - whether it's exactly a 10% or a P1,000 a month increase. If we go by the appropriations cover of P10.3 billion, it's almost the same amount required to implement the P1,000 AdCom increase last year. Let's cross our finger.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

11th PHILLBO National Convention slated April 11-13

The Philippine League of Local Budget Officers (PHILLBO) will hold its annual convention on April 11-13 at Island Cove Resort & Leisure Park in Kawit, Cavite.

Dubbed as the mother of all conventions-seminars for all local budget officers and their staff, this year's annual gathering carries the theme: "Local Budgeting in the Attainment of Millennium Development Goals". The following topics are lined up for this 3-day convention: "Millennium Development Goals", "Wage Bill", "Updates on IRA and Hazard Pay of Health Workers", Executive, Legislative Agenda as an Approach to Planning", and "Updates on Procurement Law".

Aside from Local Budget Officers and their staff, Accountants, Treasurers, Planning and Development Coordinators, and Sanggunian members are also invited.

In behalf of PHILLBO under the leadership of Roderick M. Millano, MBO of Pilar, Sorsogon, I encourage LGU personnel whose functions are related to fiscal administration to be part of this annual convention.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The BSP's Domestic Roadshow

Last Monday, March 5th, I had the opportunity to attend the Philippine Economic Briefing or the so-called Domestic Roadshow sponsored by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

In addition to being a participant, I also served as panelist along with the RDs/ARDs of other regional offices but we have not responded to any issues and concerns raised by the participants from the private sector, mostly from the banking industry as the resource speakers/presentors took up the cudgels.

Among the speakers was our own Secretary, Rolando "Nonoy" Andaya. The others are his co-members/representative of the Economic Team: Secretary Teves of the DOF, Secretary Favila of DTI, Usec Ocampo of DOE, Director Amador of BSP, and Director Valero of NEDA Region VI.

The speakers took turns in presenting the state of the Philippine economy for the year ended 2006, the fiscal and monetary policies being pushed to sustain the economic momentum, and where we are headed in the medium term. More on this in the next post.