Tiangco: ‘No work, no pay’ policy not demeaning, absenteeism is
Navotas Representative Tobias “Toby” Tiangco on Thursday said his proposed measure seeking to impose a “no work, no pay” policy in Congress does not seek to demean lawmakers who were perpetually absent from attending sessions.
In a statement, Tiangco said his bill instead would inspire him and his colleagues to work better to fulfill their mandate as duly elected representatives of the people.
“The ‘no work, no pay’ policy will not demean Congress. It will only inspire us to remain true to our sworn duties and be accountable to the people,” Tiangco said.
Tiangco said even ordinary workers who get salary deductions if they don’t show up for work don’t feel humiliated with the policy.
“Ordinary workers are paid on a ‘no work, no pay’ basis, and it doesn’t make them feel humiliated. Why should their payment scheme be different from ours?” Tiangco said.
He reminded his colleagues that they get paid using taxes from the people who themselves adhere to the “no work no pay” policy in their workplace.
“As public servants, I believe it is incumbent upon us to set high standards for work performance,” Tiangco said..
What is demeaning in Congress, Tiangco said, is the absenteeism of representatives which caused a lack of quorum that derailed the passage of pertinent bills.
“Absenteeism results in lack of quorum which in turn, causes delay in the passing of much needed bills to improve the lives of our people,” Tiangco said.
Tiangco made the reaction after Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Tiangco’s proposal was “demeaning” to lawmakers who should not be considered daily wage earners.
“We are not daily wage earners to be subjected to no-work-no-pay scheme… I think it’s demeaning to our positions as elected officials,” Lacson said.
Tiangco reminded Lacson that the problem of absenteeism is worse in the House of Representatives than in the Senate.
“Lack of quorum might not be a problem in the Senate, but it is of great concern in the House of Representatives,” Tiangco said.
Tiangco said that while he understands that representatives have to visit their constituents in their districts, lawmakers also have the responsibility to attend sessions and participate in the discussions surrounding the passage of bills.
“I understand that representatives have to balance district responsibilities with session attendance. But it is also their duty to attend sessions—represent their constituents in Congress and ensure passage of bills or voice out the concerns of their constituents, regarding bills that will affect them,” Tiangco said.
“Passing a bill that will treat members of Congress in the same manner as ordinary workers will not demean the institution. Instead, it will show our people that we, as their representatives, are faithful to our sworn duties to serve them,” he added.
The proposed measure or House Bill 412 would impose salary deductions to any member of the Congress who would not attend, participate and take part in the regular and special sessions of Congress.
“In case of failure to attend the regular and special sessions for unjustifiable cause, appropriate deductions on monthly salary shall be imposed,” the bill read.
The deductions would be computed by dividing the monthly salary by the number of sessions equals salary per session day and then multiplying the salary per session day to the number of absences which equals to the total deductions on the representative’s pay.
The Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Audit and the Department of Budget and Management would provide the implementing rules and regulations for the proposed law in coordination with the accounting department of Congress.
In the explanatory note, Tiangco said the multiple absences of some members of the Congress resulting in the absence of a quorum delayed the prompt passage of pertinent bills.
“Some members of Congress have failed to promptly, effectively, and efficiently carry out and perform the mandate of their office by reason of their failure to regularly attend the sessions of Congress,” Tiangco said.
Tiangco said previous congresses required four session days, which was later shortened to three days from Monday to Wednesday to enable members to attend to the needs of their constituents.
“Despite this change in session days, still, the attendance of house members has not improved,” Tiangco said.
Tiangco said Congress should also be subjected to the same “no work, no pay” policy imposed on ordinary workers.
“Their presence is required to represent the people and give their constituents a vote in Congress. In order to promote professionalism, dedication to duty and efficiency in the performance of duty, this bill earnestly seeks the adoption of a ‘no work, no pay’ policy for members of Congress,” Tiangco said.
In 2014, former Sarangani Rep. and now Senator boxing champion Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao was the top absentee in Congress, having only attended four session days. RAM
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