Despite a commitment from President Rodrigo Duterte for a pay raise, soldiers and policemen would most likely not enjoy a salary hike until 2018.
On Thursday, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said it would be "impossible" for the salary increase for the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to be included in the 2017 General Approriations Act because the measure for such is already about to submitted for approval.
"I don’t see how ma-incorporate ang salary increase ng pulis at military. Hindi na makakahabol yan," Lacson told reporters.
Just last week, Duterte promised to double soldiers' salary by December.
“By December, you’d have doubled your salaries. This August, umpisa na, ngayong August. Tignan ninyo iyang pay checks ninyo. Nandiyan na iyan,” Duterte told soldiers in Cebu City.
Still, Lacson said President Duterte has an option to submit a supplemental budget to Congress.
Lacson said funds from other agencies could also actually be realigned for the PNP and AFP personnel's salary increase, but that doing so would be "substantial."
"We’re talking of 140 to 150,000 police officers and another 150,000 military personnel. Saang ahensya mo huhugutin ang salary increase ng katakut-takot na personnel ng dalawang ahensya?" asked Lacson.
Only in 2018
Lacson said the earliest that the goverment can include the salary increase in the national budget would be in 2018.
"Puwede naman gawin iyan sa 2018, Presidente pa rin siya sa 2018. So magkaroon ng substantial compliance," Lacson said.
"But for the 2017 budget, I doubt. I think sa 2018 he’ll make sure. Pero sa 2017 it’s highly improbable if not impossible," he added.
During a Senate inquiry on the various Salary Standardization bills on Wednesday, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV admitted being "surprised" by Duterte's pronouncement that servicemen can enjoy a pay hike by August, with their salaries being doubled further by December.
"As you know, the soldiers are holding on to the word of their Commander-in-Chief... Pipila yung mga sundalo sa ATM (this August), di ba?," Trillanes said as he asked Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno if such promise from Duterte was ineeded feasible.
"You better advise your President because he’s been making commitments and promises left and right. Ayaw nating masira yung credibility niya, na he’s just a big talker," Trillanes said.
"Noong sinabing 'August meron na kayo, incremental increase,' palakpakan yung mga sundalo eh. Then here is our DBM secretary saying it’s not gonna happen," added Trillanes.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said the President is now studying a proposal to increase the salaries of police and military personnel up to a minimum of P50,000 a month.
Cayetano said that this is in fulfillment of Duterte's campaign promise and he hopes it will be implemented before Christmas with the support of Congress.
An additional P70 billion --P50 billion for active personnel and P20 billion for retired officers-- is said to be needed if the new salary scheme will be implemented.
At present, policemen ranked Police Officer 1 receive P14,000 basic salary and P24,329 gross pay. — RSJ, GMA News