THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental will seek the opinion of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Western Visayas Region to know if it can implement partially the salary standardization law (SSL) 4, which will provide additional salaries to its employees.
Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, who met with the members of the Progressive Alliance of Capitol Employees (Pace) Tuesday, said there is a suggestion to implement only the first tranche for 2016.
Under the partial implementation, the Provincial Government will only cover the last quarter of the year thus the pay increase will not be retroactive.
The additional salary of more than 2,000 employees, from October to December, amounts to about P30 million.
“I don’t agree on the issue that we cannot implement the second tranche without the first tranche as the law clearly states that it is subject to the availability of funds,” Lacson said.
It is being broken down into four years so as not to burden the local government units, he added.
The Provincial Board (PB) has yet to find out if there is available funds for the salary increase.
Also, the province is currently looking at whether it can appropriate the fund for partial salary increase through supplemental budget as it will exceed the 45 percent ceiling for personnel services if based on this year’s annual budget.
Lacson, however, cited that not all positions are currently occupied thus, based on the actual number of employees, “we are not going to exceed the ceiling percentage.”
The province is optimistic that the DBM will respond positively to the letter, which will be sent immediately after it is signed by Governor Alfredo Marañon, Lacson said.
“If we can implement it partially this year, then for 2017 we will go to the second tranche,” he added.
Meanwhile, the vice governor said he has asked the board members to consult their respective congressmen on the filing of the bill in Congress creating the Negros Island Region (NIR).
On May 29, 2015, NIR was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 183 issued by former president Benigno Aquino III, forming Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental as one region, separating them from Western Visayas and Central Visayas, respectively.
The PB has considered passing a resolution requesting congressmen in the province to file the bill.
“I prefer that if we file a resolution it’s something that is already in conformity with our congressmen so we would like to hear their opinion first,” Lacson said.
The region won’t probably get the budget for 2017, but in 2018 there is a chance, he said, adding that “what is more important now, there are no talks that NIR will be abolished.”