Not to be outdone by Sara, Duterte raises Malacañang Christmas bonus

Pia Ranada
Not to be outdone by Sara, Duterte raises Malacañang Christmas bonus
President Rodrigo Duterte raises the Office of the President's Christmas bonus to P50,000 after being told by his daughter Sara that she gave her Davao City staff the same amount

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio likely earned brownie points from Office of the President (OP) staff after she got her father to raise their Christmas bonus by P10,000.

President Rodrigo Duterte had announced the amount that OP staff would be getting for the holiday season during the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Malacañang on Monday night, December 3.

At first, he let Deputy Executive Secretary for Finance and Administration Rizalina Justol tell the expectant audience that they would be getting P40,000 each – a combination of Duterte’s usual P30,000 bonus and P10,000.

“I think P40,000 is good, can buy a lot of things,” said Duterte after Justol’s announcement.

He and his daughter then lit the Palace Christmas tree to the singing of the Philippine Madrigal Singers.

After the tree was lit and while the choir sang the Christmas classic, “Kumukutikutitap,” he was seen talking to Sara.

When the song ended, the President walked to the podium to make another announcement.

“Sabi ni Inday: ‘Bakit naman kayo, Maynila, national capital, kuwarenta? Ang aking bigay sa Davao, singkuwenta.’ Hindi tayo magpalugi sa Davao,” said Duterte to cheers from the Palace staff.

(Inday said: “Why does Manila, the national capital, give P40,000? I give P50,000 in Davao.” We won’t lose to Davao.)

Duterte then said he had given new instructions to Apostol.

“Sabi ko kay Lina Apostol, ‘Wala akong pakialam, magnakaw ka, dispalkuhin mo ‘yang pera, basta gawin mong 50.’ It’s gonna be 50. Ok na ‘yan? O gawain nating 60?” he said.

(I told Lina Apostol, “I don’t care, steal the money as long as you make it P50,000.” It’s gonna be P50,000. Is that okay? Or we’ll make it P60,000?)

Some of the OP staff could be heard singing, “Thank you, thank you” in response to Duterte’s announcement.

The President then wrapped up the event by singing his favorite song “Ikaw” with the Philippine Madrigal Singers. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at