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Bill proposes ‘no work, no pay’ for lawmakers

Lawmakers who skip work and don't attend sessions at Batasang Pambansa could soon see a deduction in their salaries just like regular employees if a bill filed by Navotas City Rep. Toby Tiangco becomes a law.

House Bill 412 proposes a "no work, no pay" policy for members of Congress.

Under the measure, appropriate deductions will be made to the the salaries of lawmakers who fail to attend the regular and special sessions for unjustifiable cause.

The salary per session day is computed by dividing the monthly salary by the number of session days.

The total deductions, meanwhile, is computed by multiplying the salary per session day by the number of absences.

Using the formula provided for in the bill, a lawmaker's net monthly pay will be equivalent to his monthly salary minus total deductions.

The Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Audit and the Department of Budget and Management, in coordination with Congress' accounting department, shall issue the rules and regulations necessary to implement the proposal should it be passed into law.

In seeking the bill's passage, Tiangco said some lawmakers have been remiss in their duty to attend sessions religiously despite laws requiring them to do their job as government officials "with utmost devotion and dedication to duty."

He noted that the lawmakers' attendance continue to be a problem even when House of Representatives leaders in previous Congresses shortened the number of session days per week from four to three, with Thursday remaining a free day for legislators to visit their districts.

Tiangco said the bill's passage will "promote professionalism, dedication to duty and efficiency in the performance of duty" since the lawmakers' presence is required to represent the people and give their constituents a vote in Congress.

At present, the lawmaker said there are no existing policies that will discourage, if not sanction, the frequent absences of House members.

In 2014, former Sarangani Rep. and now Senator Manny Pacquiao, and former Negros Occidental Rep. Jules Ledesma were listed as the top absentees in the House, showing up only for seven out of 70 session days between January 20 to December 17.

Of the 290 House members, only 65, including Belmonte and Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, had a perfect attendance record of 34 days with zero absences and no days deemed present.

There was a total of 70 session days in 2014, but the roll was called for only 34 days to dispense with the need for a quorum.

The House has yet to release the attendance records of its members for 2015. —ALG, GMA News