The Department of National Defense (DND) is proposing a P69-billion budget to fund the pension given to retirees of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and war veterans for 2020.
This is apart from the P189-billion regular fund that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) recommended as the DND's appropriations under the National Expenditure Program for next year.
During their budget briefing with the House Committee on Appropriations on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said DND is proposing that the allocation to fund pensions for AFP retirees be increased to P58 billion, up by 29% from the amount granted for the current fiscal year.
This amount, Lorenzana said, will "cover the implementation of Joint Resolution No. 1 or the increase in pension of AFP retirees."
The DND is also suggesting that the the allocation for veterans be increased to P11 billion, or 6% higher than this year's allocation, Lorenzana said.
"[This is] due to the implementation of RA 11164 or the increase in old age pension of World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars pensioners from P5,000 to P20,000," he added.
No less than Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano assured the DND that the House will support the budget proposals of the agency for next year.
"Rest assured that the main question of Congress is what we can do in terms of legislation and budget to help you protect the territorial integrity of our country and help you protect us against the enemies of the state," he said.
"Rest assured that if the Armed Forces of the Philippines is the backbone of our country in keeping us safe and comfortable. Meron din po kayong backbone dito sa Kongreso na ito, sa 18th Congress," he added.
Under the DND's budget proposal, a total of P183-billion of its regular fund will be allocated for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to be distributed among the Philippine Army (P91 billion), Philippine Air Force (P26 billion), Philippine Navy (P29 billion), and their general headquarters (P39 billion).
The remaining P5 billion in the regular fund will be given to the department's civilian bureaus, including the DND proper, the Office of Civil Defense, and the Veterans Memorial Medical Center. —LDF, GMA News