THE chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations yesterday gave assurances that the proposed 2017 P3.35-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) will fund the increase in combat duty pay for soldiers and policemen as promised by President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, the panel chairman, made this clear after Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. claimed that there is no allocation in next year’s national budget for the increase in combat pay.
“Congressman Andaya may have missed certain portions of the proposed budget especially on the adjustments for the combat pay for our soldiers and policemen. The adjustments were all provided under the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF),” Nograles said.
“I think that it is not fair to make it appear that our President is making empty promises. I want to assure our soldiers and policemen, as the head of the panel that scrutinized every detail of the budget, that we will fight tooth and nail to make sure that the President’s commitment for this increase in their combat pay is fully delivered,” Andaya added.
Nograles said that contrary to Andaya’s claim, the amount required for the combat duty pay and combat incentive pay for the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have been included in the proposed 2017 National Budget under the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF).
The P12.24 billion requirement to pay for these benefits is included in the P39.6 billion allocation for compensation adjustment under the MPBF.
Under Executive Order No. 3, s. 2016, Nograles said the Combat Duty Pay has been increased from P500 for AFP and P340 for PNP per month to P3,000 per month. On the other hand, Nograles said the Combat Incentive Pay was raised from a maximum of P1,500 per month for AFP to a maximum of P3,000 per month for both AFP and PNP.
On the other hand, he said the existing rate for combat pay of P500 and P340 per month for the AFP and the PNP, respectively is already included in the 2017 budget amounting to P1.237 billion.
Nograles said that during the plenary deliberation of the budget, it was agreed upon that the P12 billion which is needed for the 2017 implementation of EO No. 3 shall be taken from the MPBF specifically from the item “compensation adjustment” worth P39 billion.
“We did not disaggregate the projected P12 billion budgetary requirement for combat pay to the specific budgets of the AFP and PNP because we are still drafting the Resolution which will provide for the total compensation package like salaries, provisional allowances, and other allowances including the recently increased combat duty pay of military and uniformed personnel, “ Nograles explained.