By Ben Rosario
The House of Representatives last night approved on third and final reading House Joint Resolution No. 18 granting soldiers and policemen a 100-percent increase in their current base pay.
With a vote of 167 for approval and four against, the chamber played its part in granting President Duterte’s campaign pledge for increased salaries for 381,381 uniformed personnel in government service.
Four members of the Makabayan bloc, namely Reps. Ariel Casilao (Anakpawis Partylist); Sarah Jane Elago (Kabataan Partylist); Arlene Brosas (ACT Teachers Partylist) and Emmi de Jesus (GabriealPartylist) thumbed down the proposed resolution.
On the other hand, Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, a former Marine officer, entered a positive vote but aired caution on the implementation of the salary bump.
“I commend this measure to increase base pay of our uniformed personnel. However, I hope that this is not meant to buy AFP’s loyalty, rather it is a genuine effort to boost their morale for more efficient service to the Filipino people,” said Alejano.
To benefit from HJR No. 18 are all military personnel under the Department of National Defense, uniformed personnel under the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine Coast Guard, and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority.
The modified base pay schedule for lower-ranked military and uniformed personnel – from candidate soldier to chief master sergeant and their equivalent ranks in the civilian agencies – would be fully implemented beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
Under the measure, the new monthly rates would now range from R18,587 for candidate soldier to R34,761 for chief master sergeant.
On the other hand, the pay schedule for higher-ranked personnel – from first chief master sergeant to general and their civilian counterparts – would be implemented in staggered adjustments on Jan. 1, 2018 and Jan. 1, 2019.
The rates range from R35,456 for first chief master sergeant to R121,143 for the general beginning Jan. 1, 2018, and R38,366 to R149,785 beginning Jan. 1, 2019.
HJR No. 18 also provides for the suspension of the pension indexation – the adjustment of pension rates in proportion to the new base pay rates – pending the review of the current pension system.