Senate ensures passage of pro-labor laws

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

SENATE President Franklin Drilon vowed Thursday that the Senate would work double time in enacting measures that will have a "direct and significant impact" to millions of Filipino workers.

Drilon said on Labor Day that among the pending measures, which will receive "urgent legislative attention", is Senate Bill 256, which seeks to raise the tax exemption limit on the 13th month pay and other work benefits of all workers in the public and private sector.

He added that the Senate is eyeing to pass the bill within the year.

He also urged the appropriate Senate committee to expedite the hearing on the measure authored by Senate Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, so that it can immediately be discussed on the floor.

The bill intends to raise the exclusion limit on an individual's 13th month pay and other work benefits from income taxation from the current imposed limit of P30,000 to P75,000, according to Drilon.

"It has been 20 years ago since the enactment of Republic Act No. 7833 that imposed the P30,000 cap on bonuses such as the 13th month pay, and things have greatly change since then, making the figures no longer reflective of current economic realities," Drilon said.

Also pending in the Senate are measures, which seek to increase the allowances of members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) and hike the government workers' salary to help them deal with the rising costs of living.

"Considering that the last tranche of salary increase under the Salary Standardization Law III took place two years ago, we recognize the government employees’ clamor to augment their wages, taking into account the increases in prices of basic commodities," said Drilon.

In 2013, there were 1,205,375 government employees, he noted.

"Our policy makers must ceaselessly look at parts of the National Budget which could permit and put into action sustainable salary augmentation, in a manner that would help our workers, yet would not result in budgetary deficit or decreases in other important sectors such as social and health services," he said. (Sunnex)

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