MANILA, Philippines – As the coronavirus spreads through the country, the national government has been coming up with grassroots measures to augment existing social safety nets for millions of Filipinos, a large majority of whom live below the poverty line.
Congress has granted President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to respond to the pandemic through Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which allows him to realign the 2019 and 2020 General Appropriations Acts for interventions in the unprecedented public health crisis.
Even so, public officials and employees have begun donating their salaries, or portions of it, to help in government efforts to respond to the needs of medical frontliners and ease the economic impact of the outbreak on Filipino families.
Here are some of them:
President Duterte and his Cabinet
According to Malacañang, the Chief Executive himself decided to donate a month’s salary to help in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
On Sunday, April 5, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that several Cabinet members have also “pledged to cut 75% of their monthly salaries* from April to December 2020.
Other officials “have volunteered a salary deduction” for the duration of the state of public health emergency “in solidarity with our countrymen and to help in the government efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus,” Panelo added.
Members of the House of Representatives
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said on Saturday, April 4, that almost 200 members of the House of Representatives are donating their full salary for the month of May to aid the government’s coronavirus response.
He said that the lawmakers are aiming to raise P50 million ($986,777)**. Once this amount is raised, Cayetano said that lawmakers plan to solicit donations from their friends to reach P100 million ($1.973 million)*”.
Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
The country’s soldiers – “from the highest ranking general to the lowest ranking personnel” – will donate a portion of their May 2020 salaries for the procurement of medical supplies and equipment, according to AFP chief of staff General Felimon Santos Jr.
The amount to be deducted from the soldiers’ salaries will depend on their rank. The AFP chief will give the biggest contribution amounting to P10,484 ($206.9)**. The lowest ranking soldier – a private, an airman, or an apprentice seaman – will each donate P100 or about $2.
The contributions are expected to raise an estimated P16.9 million ($333,542)**. The money will be turned over to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, other elected city officials
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno announced on social media on Saturday, April 4, that he and other elected local officials will donate their salaries in April to the Philippine General Hospital, which has been designated by the Department of Health (DOH) as a COVID-19 referral center. The PGH is located on Padre Faura Street in Manila.
Moreno said that Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, City Council Majority Floor Leader Joel Chua, and all city councilors, have committed to forego their April salaries worth a total of P4.7 million ($92,757)**.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on April 14 also announced that she will donate a year’s salary or P2.1 million (about $42,000)** to health workers at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) who were infected with COVID-19.
Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) personnel
All organic personnel of the BJMP – from the agency’s chief to those with the rank of Jail Officer 1 – will donate 1.5% of their base pay to government programs against the coronavirus pandemic.
The effort is expected to raise some P7.23 million ($142,687)**, which will be turned over to the Office of Civil Defense.
“We hope that this amount could somehow reinforce the needed support to help our people, especially the health workers who are in the frontlines,” BJMP Chief Jail Director Allan Iral said in a statement. – Rappler.com
*The latest tranche of the law increasing the wages of government employees.
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