What are the effects of R.A 7160 and Joint Resolution no. 4 on R.A 7305? Are the magna carta benefits under R.A 7305 modified or amended by Joint Resolution no. 4 or R.A 7160? How should the Magna Carta provisions be interpreted in case of conflict with other laws or doubt?
These are some of the issues which are circulating in the local government units and local budget officers are showing their proclivity to restrain the implementation of Magna Carta benefits. Their views are focused on the effects of R.A 7160 otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991 and the salary standardization law-the Joint Resolution no. 4 passed by the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives aside from alleged budgetary constraints.
And their views need to be revisited.
.Joint Resolution no. 4 expressly provides that:
“Nothing in this Joint Resolution shall be interpreted to reduce, diminish or, in any way, alter the benefits provided for in existing laws on Magna Carta benefits for specific officials and employees in government, regardless of whether said benefits have been already received or have yet to be implemented” (2nd Paragraph of Section 6 of Joint Resolution no. 4).
In a nutshell, Joint Resolution no. 4 itself assures and encourages the full implementation of Magna Carta benefits in the LGUs. It even stressed that non-implementation of the benefits cannot be taken as a reason to diminish, reduce or alter the same. It also follow that the Joint Circular promulgated by the DBM and DOH on magna carta is antithetical to the above principle.
Even Section 7 of the Joint Resolution, which brings into play the personal services limitation cited in Section 325 paragraph (a) of R. A 7160, will not in any way justify the non-implementation or partial implementation of the benefits.
Aside from the fact that Section 325 of R.A 7160 speaks of a “general limitation” which would not apply to Public Health Workers, it has to be read with Section 324 of R.A 7160, stating that:
“Section 324. Budgetary Requirements. The budget of local government units of any fiscal year shall comply with the following requirements:
(a) x x x
(b) Full provision shall be made for all statutory and contractual obligations of the local government unit concerned. Provided, however, that the amount of appropriation for debt servicing shall not exceed twenty percent (20%) of the regular income of the local government unit concerned;
(c) x x x
(d) x x x”
Before the LGU thinks of any limitation therefore, it has to think first its statutory obligations to public health workers to fully implement the benefits. Upon the other hand, the law covering the Magna Carta benefits is a special law and in case of a conflict with a general law which is RA. 7160 in this case, the former law prevails.
Therefore, both R.A 7160 and Joint Resolution no. 4 do not have any logical adverse effects on magna carta benefits under R.A 7305.