MANILA, Philippines – When Pres. Rodrigo Duterte promised cops and soldiers that he will double their salaries while he was still campaigning for presidency, a lot of people were skeptical that this will happen but many hoped it will come true. This promise was marred by a number of setbacks, including an announcement by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno that the said increase was not included in the proposed 2017 national budget.
Well, the president belied Diokno’s announcement by firmly saying that the cops and soldiers will have their salary increase – and the first tranche of the incremental increase will begin in as early as August which is actually just around the corner!
Duterte said, “Nangako ako noon. Remember this, may budet na niyan; nangako ako dagdagan ko sweldo niyo (pero) wala sa budget. Sabi ko kay Sec. Diokno, mapahiya ako sa sundalo. Sabi ko you have to look for ways.”
(I already promised. Remember this, there was a budget for that; I promised I’d increase your salary but it wasn’t in the budget. I told Sec. Diokno I’d be embarrassed before the soldiers. I said you have to look for ways.)
“Pangako ko doblado (I promised that the salaries will be doubled), you will get it,” he reiterated.
So, where is the budget secretary going to get funds for the salary increase? The answer seems to be simple enough for the president: better collection of taxes by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and curbing of illegal activities such as the rampant smuggling at the Bureau of Customs (BoC).
According to his estimates, the government can save billions of pesos just by solving these issues with these two agencies; with that money saved, there will be ample funds for the salary increase for the cops and soldiers.