Press Release
January 23, 2006

*Just do it, Senate tells House on govt wage hike bill*

Just do it .

Senators today prodded the House to pass without fanfare the special budget bill setting aside P13.1 billion for the additional allowance of 1.1 million national government workers .

Their enthusiasm is already heartwarming . No need to hype it up a if it were a Pacquiao-Morales fight, Sen. Ralph Recto said.

If theyll pass it and send it to us theyll be surprised as to how fast senators will act on it, Recto added.

Better yet, they should pass the bill not as a separate measure, but as a component of the 2006 national budget, Recto said, referring to the P1.05 trillion outlay which has yet to be reported out for floor debates in the lower chamber.

But even if its only the pay hike bill, I dont see why the Senate will not act on it with dispatch, he said.

The P13.1 B pay increase can come from the expected P81.4 B additional VAT collections, or just around half of the P35 Billion allocated for economic pump-priming.

Recto said the House should pass the bill before the end of January, to give allowance to the Senate to read, hear, and pass the measure before February 14, the date President Arroyo wanted the bill to land on her desk for signing.

The problem with that deadline is that if the House passes the bill on the 11th hour, near that date , it will set up the Senate for the blame if the bill wont be passed before February 14 for lack of material time, he said.

Under the Constitution, all appropriations bill must emanate from the House, thus tying the hands of the Senate as it has to wait for the House draft .

In a speech in Plaza Miranda last Thursday, President Arroyo asked Congress to pass the P13.1 billion pay hike package for state workers ahead of the 2006 budget bill, and expressed her wish that it be the governments Valentines Gift to its workers.

As if on cue, House appropriations chairman Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr filed the special budget bill moments after President Arroyo made her plea during the Liberal Partys 60th anniversary rites.

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