Lawmaker eyes increase in allowances for cops, soldiers

Since the government cannot keep President Rodrigo Duterte's promise of immediate salary hike for soldiers and uniformed personnel, a lawmaker said Sunday that he will propose to raise their allowances instead.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, chairman of the House of Representatives committee on appropriations, told radio dzBB that he would make the proposal to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). The DBM said that the government cannot immediately double the salaries of uniformed personnel as Duterte promised in a speech before soldiers in Zamboanga del Sur last week.

“Hindi natin masyado gagalawin ang salary dito dahil magkakaroon ng repercussions sa kanilang mga pension. So kailangan pa i-consult sa GSIS (Government Service Insurance Service) kung magkano ang kaya nilang i-absorb,” Nograles told dzBB on Sunday. “Pero definitely, 'yung promise ni President Duterte na dagdag sahod, magre-reflect 'yan sa allowances.” Nograles said he would propose the adjustment in allowances to the DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno during the scheduled briefings on the budget starting August 22.

“Hindi pa ito 100-percent na napagkasunduan. I can't speak in behalf of the DBM and the President pero ito ay part ng discussions namin. But ang point is, hindi nakakalimutan ni President Duterte and kaniyang promise sa mga kasundaluhan,” In a Senate hearing on the Salary Standardization Law, Diokno said the Duterte administration is committed to double the take home pay of the country's uniformed personnel but wouldn't be able to do so within the year.

"We cannot promise (an increase) this August because, as you know, there is nothing in the budget for that," Diokno said. Duterte had promised to increase soldiers' salaries this month, and that the pay would double by December. “By December, you'd have doubled your salaries. This August, umpisa na, ngayong August. Tignan ninyo iyang pay checks ninyo. Nandiyan na iyan,” Duterte told soldiers in Cebu City.

The DBM is scheduled to submit the government's proposed national budget of P3.35 trillion on Monday, August 15, to the leaders of the House of Representatives. The House Committee on Appropriations will then conduct its briefings on the budget allocations for government departments and agencies from August 22 to September 13.

Nograles said he wants the national budget approved on third and final reading by December 7 to avoid a reenacted budget. “I think lahat naman ng kongresista pati mga senators, lahat naman kami ay tutol sa reenacted budget kaya kung kailangan pagpuyatan ito, pagpupuyatan naman ito,” he said.

H/T: gmanewsonline

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