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Salary hike proposal remains

The planned increase in the salary of policemen and soldiers is not yet off the table.

The government could “make room” for the proposed salary hike in the next national budget, according to Department of Finance spokeswoman Paola Alvarez.

“If the President wants to push for a certain agenda, then we will have to make room on how to do it. If it is not within this budget, then it will be on the second budget,” Alvarez said in a Palace press briefing.

President Duterte earlier wanted to double the basic salary of cops and soldiers to motivate them to do their jobs better. The allocation, however, was not part of the P3.35-trillion national budget proposed by the Department of Budget and Management.

Alvarez explained that the pay hike was excluded from the 2017 budget proposal since the government wanted to prioritize the pending pension payment for the uniformed personnel.

“Once the pension is already paid, then that’s when we include the salary. So, it would actually benefit them because they are also the ones who will receive the pension,” she said.

“It’s a matter of moving lang po ‘yung mga line budget. So, I think Secretary Diokno will have to look into it,” she added.

Earlier, Duterte continued to press for higher salary for the security forces to boost their morale and improve their work amid the government’s intensified campaign against crime.

Duterte, in a fellowship dinner with San Beda law schoolmates in Malacañang last Sunday, said he “just kept quiet” when Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno announced the funding for the pay hike was not part of the proposed 2017 budget. (GENALYN D. KABILING)