When Joint Resolution No. 4 (JR 4) was signed and the corresponding SSL 3 1st tranche guidelines (Executive Order No. 811) was issued by the President, the apprehension of many LGUs that they cannot implement the first tranche became a reality.
Position papers were prepared and submitted to Congress appealing to our legislators to amend Section 7 of JR No. 4 which provides that the determination by the local sanggunian of the salaries and wages of local government personnel shall be subject to the PS limitation prescribed under Section 325(a)of RA 7160. One such position paper was prepared by the Iloilo MBOs Association (IMBOA) which was adopted by the Iloilo League of Municipalities, and later on by the LMP Visayas. Nothing's been heard about Congress' response to the position paper.
What's closer to reality? It seems Congress is not keen on amending that disputed section of JR 4. We suggested that another tack may be employed by LGUs - which is to lobby to their respective Congressmen for the retention of Section 88, General Provisions of the 2009 General Appropriations Act (GAA). The said section enumerates the PS items that can be waived from the 45%-55% PS limitation, among them, the continued implementation of SSL.
The 2010 Budget submitted by the President is being deliberated upon by both Houses of Congress. As gleaned from the said budget (2010 National Expenditure Program), particularly, the last paragraph of Section 87 of the General Provisions - only three (3) PS costs are proposed to be waived from the PS limitation, namely:
- PS costs of mandatory positions specified in RA 7160;
- PS of NG personnel devolved to LGUs, and
- PS of hospital services transferred to new cities from the provinces
The other PS costs which used to be part of the waived items were deleted. These include: continued implementation of SSL; terminal leave; monetization of leave credits; magna carta benefits of PHWs; and honoraria and cash gift of barangay officials.
I am positive it's never too late to mount a concerted effort of lobbying with our legislators. Every LGU from Aparri to Jolo should contribute to the effort. Otherwise, LGU personnel, especially those employed in lower class LGUs will be left out in the cold.