Duterte vetoes expanded survivorship benefits bill

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 15) — President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed a bill granting benefits to surviving dependents of deceased retired government officials for being "onerous" to the government.

"The new benefits granted in addition to the benefits enjoyed by other government offices would 'erode the national government's thrust to standardize and rationalize the current compensation framework in the bureaucracy'," the chief executive said in his veto message to the Senate dated April 12.

Duterte added the bill would "create too much disparity and inequality in compensation among public servants."

Senate Bill No. 1917 or House Bill No. 7820 provides expanded benefits to the surviving children, who are solo parents, of deceased retired members of government agencies, including the Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Elections, and the Office of the Ombudsman.

The current law, Republic Act. No. 10084, grants benefits only to the surviving legitimate spouse of deceased retired government workers.

The proposed measure, authored by Senator Loren Legarda, likewise extends the benefits to surviving parents of these government officials.

The Senate approved the said bill on third and final reading back in January.

In a statement Monday, Malacañang said that providing benefits outside the current compensation was "too burdensome for the government."

"In vetoing this bill, (President Duterte) has ensured that disparity and inequality in compensation among public servants will be prevented since the additional benefits proposed in the enrolled bill are extraordinary benefits not granted to any government official under the present compensation scheme of the government," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.