Monday, March 20, 2017
MANILA – Sen. Leila de Lima is seeking the passage of additional hazard pay for court officials.
Her Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1347 proposed a higher hazard pay for court officials who are exposed to potential threats such as criminals, natural disasters, and armed conflicts.
“Our country is not a stranger to risks. Natural disasters batter our country with increasing frequency, while armed conflicts occasionally erupt” de Lima said.
The “Hazard Pay for Justice Sector Officials Act” provides additional allowance for court officials in second level courts, such as judges, clerks, public prosecutors and attorneys.
“We need to enact an incentive system that is commensurate to the dangers faced by our public officials. This will encourage our brave countrymen to take up posts in otherwise less than ideal public offices,” the former Justice chief said.
The de Lima bill seeks to grant hazard pay equivalent to an additional 15 percent of the basic monthly salary of officials in Risk-adjacent Courts due to their geographical location or proximity to prolonged armed conflicts or disaster-prone areas, whether First or Second Level Court.
Officials in Second Level Courts, such as Regional Trial Courts and Shari’a District Courts handling criminal cases shall also receive an additional hazard pay of 10 percent of their basic monthly salary, the Act stated.
All additional hazard pay proposed in SBN 1347 are to be exempted from tax.
“Add to this is the criminality and terrorism that seek to sow fear against those that stand in their way, including our court officials who are tasked with administering justice,” the senator said.
“Officials in second level courts are further exposed to risks from criminal elements being the courts assigned to hear heinous crimes and cases with higher stakes.”/PN