MANILA, Philippines – While doubling salaries of uniformed personnel will not be possible in 2016, doubling their take-home pay will be accomplished during the Duterte presidency through a combination of additional allowances and pay increases.
This was the assurance given by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Tuesday, September 27, during a Palace press briefing.
“We’ll be able to double the salaries through a combination of allowances and increase in pay. Ang importante naman kasi is take-home pay, magkano ang nauwi mo sa pamilya (What’s important is the take-home pay, how much you bring home to your family),” said Diokno.
The incremental increase in salary will be achieved through “adjustments” to salaries that will be done in 4 tranches.
“There’s going to be an adjustment. It’s not yet announced by the President. They’re part of these 4 tranches. First tranche was given in 2016, second in 2017, third in 2018…The military are to be included in these tranches. On top of that, they will be given additional allowances,” explained Diokno.
The eventual doubling of take-home pay can be achieved by increasing things like combat pay for the military and fulfillment of the Duterte administration’s tax reform agenda, which includes reducing personal income tax.
“The combat pay, we adjust that. Part of the tax reform bill is to lower income tax, from 32% it will be maximum 25%. We’ll get there. We’ll be able to double the salaries,” said the budget secretary.
On top of the increased take-home pay, soldiers will also be given rice allowance to provide their families with 20 kilograms of rice for one month.
Diokno explained why doubling salaries of the military and police will take a lot of time and consideration.
Any adjustment to their salaries would require an equivalent adjustment to the pension of retired military personnel, already a huge amount to begin with because of how early soldiers retire and how long they live.
“The situation right now is that the amount we, the taxpayers, pay for military pension is much higher than the current salaries of the soldiers,” said Diokno.
He previously explained that the government in fact still has a large debt to pay to the military pension fund.
Members of the military have been told not to be “too optimistic” about President Duterte’s promises during his visits to military camps. – Rappler.com