Calida seeks better benefits for solicitors: ‘What we ask for is not novel’
MANILA, Philippines — Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday called on Congress to pass a measure augmenting the benefits for state solicitors.
“What we ask for is not novel. Only that the same spectrum of benefits accorded to other lawyers in the government service be extended to the lawyers of the Office of the Solicitor General,” Calida said as the Senate committee on civil service tackled the bill.
“We urge you, your honor, to seize this opportunity to help us pass this important piece of legislation,” Calida added.
Unlike the benefits granted for the office of the Ombudsman under Republic Act No. 11059, he said the OSG is asking “even less as we’re not asking for retroactivity.”
The said law, establishing a retirement benefit system in the Office of the Ombudsman, was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018.
Calida argued that since the “disparity in benefits” started in 2013, the “separation rate has more than doubled” in OSG as solicitors opted to leave for other offices with better benefits.
“That is from a separation rate of 7 percent before 2013 to a staggering 17 percent from 2013 to 2020,” he pointed out.
According to Calida, the benefits they seek “would be an incentive” for its lawyers to make them stay in OSG for good.
“The Office of the Solicitor General contributes to the national coffers, but more than that, just like faithful soldiers, our OSG lawyers are in the battlefront defending the government’s cause every single day.”
“It’s a badge of honor for the OSG regardless of the inferior benefits its lawyers enjoy,” he stressed.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri immediately assured Calida of his support for the measure, which he hopes to be approved before Christmas.
“No need to campaign for your bill Solgen because you are absolutely correct. The men and women of the Solgens Office are indeed great men and women of government doing their job to help our government move forward,” Zubiri said.
“This bill is going to be a priority measure as far as I’m concerned,” he added.
Directing his next statement to the panel chairman, Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Zubiri said apparently in jest: “Ilabas mo na yung committee report para ma-sponsor na natin kaagad -agad itong measure and hopefully bago mag Pasko ay mabigay natin yan na papasko sa kanila.”
(Release the committee report so we can immediately sponsor this measure, and hopefully, before Christmas, we can give this to them as a Christmas gift.)
“Don’t worry kami na po bahala dito sa Senado,” Revilla, who also authored the bill, later said.
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