The Duterte administration is expected to allot at least P39.5 billion for additional cash benefits for the police and military, a House of Representatives leader said on Thursday.
Rep. Karlo Nograles of Davao City, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations that will lead deliberations on a proposed P3.35-trillion budget for 2017, noted that the allocation will be sourced from the P96-billion Miscellaneous and Personnel Benefits Fund.
“As far as I know, the government wants to grant [the increase of benefits]in three tranches. As to whether it is on salary or allowance, it is something that it is yet to be determined,” Nograles told reporters.
“We have to be careful in releasing the tranches to ensure that the possible increase of salary can be absorbed by the available pension fund for the police and military. We don’t want to leave the pension agencies bankrupt,” he said.
A salary increase would also mean an increased pension rate because the pension rate of a policeman or a soldier is based on his or her monthly salary.
“What we can assure is that there will be a win-win solution here,” Nograles said.
President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to raise the salaries of policemen and soldiers during the campaign.
“I promised to increase the salaries of our policemen, soldiers and other uniformed personnel, and I will fulfill that promise. We will pursue a law that increases the base pay of uniformed personnel but reforms the pension system of retirees,” Duterte said.
But not all government servants can expect the same treatment under the Duterte administration.
Rep. France Castro of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list on Thursday chided Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno for saying that there is no urgency in increasing the salary of teachers and nurses during an Anti-Poverty Summit held in Davao City, Duterte’s hometown.
“I am dismayed that Secretary Diokno made such statements in an Anti-Poverty Summit, considering that quality education and healthcare are crucial in defeating poverty that the administration is harping about,” Castro said in a statement.
“Is the Budget secretary not aware of the fact that the teachers’ take- home pay just hovers at P3,500 to P6,000 a month, an amount so little that they resort to accumulating debts. It stirs anger that he belittles the roles of teachers and other government employees when every government employee has to deal with rise of prices of basic communities,” he added.