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Arroyo approves P35,000 grocery allowance for House employees

Mara Cepeda
Arroyo approves P35,000 grocery allowance for House employees
The P35,000 covers the January to July period this year, and is on top of the P5,000 that each employee received in August

MANILA, Philippines – Employees at the House of Representatives will each receive P35,000 in grocery allowance, to be distributed in September.

Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said on Monday, September 3, that she has approved a P35,000 special grocery allowance.

According to the House Press and Public Affairs Bureau, the amount retroactively covers the January to July period this year. Each month’s allowance is at P5,000.

The P35,000 is on top of the P5,000 that House staff already received in August for their “grocery and meal allowance,” which follows the acronym of Arroyo’s name.

The former president turned Pampanga 2nd District representative made the announcement after the flag ceremony at the Batasang Pambansa. 

“Somebody from Congress told me that August and September are, to use his words, ‘taghirap (hard) months’…. August and September, ang daming (there are a lot of) applications for loan. Then last August, with the hard work of accounts [committee] chairman Yedda Romualdez, you received a grocery allowance of P5,000. This month, with even harder work of Congresswoman Yedda Romualdez, I have been able to authorize the release of P35,000,” said Arroyo.

Romualdez, Leyte 1st District representative, is the new chairperson of the House committee on accounts, which takes care of matters concerning the lower chamber’s internal budget.

The congressional staff only started receiving a grocery allowance under Arroyo, who became Speaker after the House coup that unseated Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez on July 23. 

Gratitude from ‘hands-on’ Speaker

In her speech, Arroyo told the House staff that she is “selectively hands-on” as a boss – a work ethic she has developed since her presidency. 

“Let me describe my leadership and management style as Speaker of the House. It is similar to when I was president. The keywords are hard work, selectively hands-on – and you’ve seen that in regard to the priority legislative agenda of the President – strict but hopefully, fair and open-minded,” said Arroyo.

“With your help and support, I see a productive year for the House under my watch,” said the Speaker, who also told the staff to “roll up our sleeves” to pass President Rodrigo Duterte’s legislative agenda.  

Arroyo also thanked the House employees for working hard on her bills – even the ones the 3-termer lawmaker filed when she was still under hospital arrest.

“I have seen you work hard over the last 8 years. Even during my period of hospital detention, you worked on my bills, you took care of my benefits, you took care of my room. And of course, thank you for that,” said Arroyo.  

She then expressed gratitude to the employees for not letting the controversial House coup get in the way of legislative work.

“And of course, especially for the last 6 weeks, I have seen you work very well. I’m impressed by how well you adjusted to the transition and the extra effort you make to meet the expectations of the Speaker. Thank you very much for your help,” said Arroyo. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.