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The proposed 2017 national budget does not include the increased combat allowance for soldiers and policemen promised by President Duterte.
Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., Deputy Speaker and former House appropriations committee chairman, disclosed this to media yesterday.
Andaya was quick to add, though, that it is still not too late for the House to include the required P12-billion budget for the increased combat incentive next year.
He said the chamber could propose the inclusion of the fund during the bicameral conference on budget, after the Senate approves its version of the government’s spending bill.
The House passed its proposed 2017 national budget on third and final reading before the congressional recess two weeks ago. The chamber is set to transmit it to the Senate when sessions resume next week.
Andaya said the Department of Budget and Management was not able to include funding for the increased combat allowance because the budget proposal was already with the House when President Duterte authorized the adjustment.
He assured soldiers and policemen, though, that there is still time to adjust the 2017 budget to provide funds for their incentive.
Duterte increased the combat pay of uniformed military and police personnel from about P500 a month to P3,000 starting September.
The President has also promised to double their pay next month.
Earlier, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said there were no funds in this year’s or in next year’s budget to fulfill the President’s promise.
But he pointed out that the country’s soldiers and cops would get salary hikes, as these are included in the government-wide pay adjustment program laid out in the 2017 budget.
Andaya has estimated that doubling the salaries of uniformed military and police personnel would cost taxpayers about P230 billion a year.