Promoting welfare of public sector workers

Public sector workers are at the frontlines of public service delivery. They play important roles in government operations and they ensure that the public has access to basic government services such as sanitation, waste management, transportation, and health services, among others. However, they are also among those affected by inflation and other crises while also having to support their families just like other ordinary Filipinos they are mandated to serve.

It is in this light that I continue to uphold their welfare and find ways to uplift their lives in recognition of their dedication and service to others. That is why I support the proposed Salary Standardization Law 6, which will pave the way for the implementation of salary increases for public sector employees. I made my stand clear during the 15 August Development Budget Coordination Committee presentation of the proposed 2024 National Expenditure Program before the Senate Finance Committee, where I serve as vice chairperson.

This year is the last year of implementation of Republic Act No. 11466 or SSL 5, which I authored and co-sponsored and was enacted into law in January 2020 during the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte. Ensuring continuity of the salary increase will not only help public sector workers but also help stimulate the economy.

I am ready to work on the necessary legislation in collaboration with finance managers from the executive who are currently doing a study on the salary increases needed to implement this. Meanwhile, just like fellow public sector workers, I continue to fulfill my commitment to go around the country and provide assistance to my fellow Filipinos. Aside from legislation, our mandate as senators is also reflected in our work of representing our people and addressing the needs of our constituents.

On 19 August, we were in Zambales to distribute assistance to 2,000 of our impoverished countrymen in Olongapo City, together with Congressman Jay Khonghun, Mayor Rolen Paulino Jr., and former mayor Rolen Paulino Sr. We also attended the Commencement Exercises of the Kolehiyo ng Subic, Class Matalaghay 2023 as guest speaker, where we distributed tokens to 556 graduates at the Subic Sports Complex in Subic, Zambales.

We joined the celebration of the 39th anniversary of El Shaddai and the birthday celebration of Brother Mike Velarde at the Quirino Grandstand, Manila.

We were in my hometown of Davao City on 18 August and attended the “Responsible Real Estate Marketing: Accurate Representation for Sustainable Public Trust” forum at the invitation of the Accredited Real Estate Salespersons of the Philippines Inc. as a guest of honor and speaker. We also witnessed the arrival of the Naismith Trophy for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Trophy Tour. The trophy will be awarded to the champion of the upcoming World Cup. I was the guest speaker at the occasion, serving as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Sports.

We visited our fellow Batangueños again on 17 August and witnessed the blessing and opening ceremony of the newly built Malaquing Tubig Bridge in Brgy. Poblacion 4, San Jose, Batangas together with Mayor Ben Patron and Vice Mayor Noel Virtucio. During the visit, we also inspected the newly rehabilitated Provincial Road from Barangay Palanca to Barangay Natunuan. These projects, which we supported to be funded and subsequently implemented, will bring great relief to residents, travelers, and businessmen, and will hopefully boost economic opportunities to the nearby communities.

We also personally led the distribution of aid to the poor residents of San Jose, where 558 were beneficiaries of the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers program of the Department of Labor and Employment, and 1,000 from the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

My office also visited various parts of our country and assisted those facing various crises. We initiated the provision of additional support and assistance for housing materials, under the Emergency Housing Assistance Program of the National Housing Authority, to help rebuild the homes of 391 beneficiaries in Brgy. Sta Maria, Zamboanga City, and 79 in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

We also eased the burden of our poor countrymen and left smiles on the faces of 939 beneficiaries in Cabanatuan City, and 42 in Cabiao — both in Nueva Ecija province where I am an adopted son.

We brought joy to 150 members of various sectors in Moalboal, Cebu. Additional aid was provided to 65 residents of Brgy. Basak, San Nicolas; and 30 in Brgy. Capitol Site and Guadalupe, Cebu City who were fire victims that were qualified for livelihood assistance through the Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa program of the Department of Trade and Industry, which I also pushed for and continue to support.

Our teams also helped 250 poor residents of Mendez, Cavite; 250 in Siniloan, Laguna; 201 Kadayawan Performers from Samal Island, Davao del Norte; and 200 more in Nagcarlan, Laguna.

As your senator, I am always ready to be of service to the Filipino people to the best of my abilities and capacity as a public servant, especially those who need the government’s help the most. Rest assured that I will always be ready to assist the poor, especially the hopeless and the helpless, by listening to their concerns, pushing for legislation that can promote their welfare, supporting projects that will help in the development of their communities, extending aid to those needing medical attention, and by visiting them as much as I can to leave smiles on the faces amid today’s challenges.

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