P14-B fund eyed for new soldiers, cops, firefighters, jail guards

MANILA-- At least PHP14 billion has been allocated in the proposed PHP3.767-trillion national budget for 2018 to fund the hiring of additional soldiers, policemen, firefighters and jail guards as requested by President Rodrigo Duterte, a House leader said on Monday.

In a statement, House appropriations committee chair and Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles further noted that the PHP14-billion allocation will also finance uniforms, firearms, rifles, ammunition, gears, training and other expenses needed for the new recruits.

It is safe to say that out of the computed requirement, PHP14 billion is already specifically provided in the proposed 2018 budget," Nograles said, noting that the fund is distributed among the various uniformed services.

If approved without any amendment, Nograles said that this would allow the Philippine National Police (PNP) to hire 10,000 additional policemen, 2,000 additional personnel for the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and 1,000 jail guards for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

"For salaries alone, the total basic pay for the creation of 10,000 police officer PO1 positions will entail around PHP1.78 billion. The creation of 20,000 soldiers may cost a total basic pay amounting to around PHP3.56 billion," Nograles said.

"As to the additional soldiers, we already created in 2017 for the Philippine Army 8,892 positions, which we are currently filling up," he added.

The Davao City lawmaker said the hiring of new uniformed personnel is necessary with the existing security challenges amid threats of terrorism and other forms of lawlessness.

The Marawi crisis, the ongoing war against drugs and other forms of criminality that threaten the peace and security of the people are compelling reasons for us to prioritize the augmentation of our military and law enforcement personnel and the modernization of their weapons and equipment," he said.

Nograles assured that his panel will support the creation of new positions for uniformed personnel.

The proposed budget for next year is 12.4 percent higher than the PHP3.35 trillion budget for 2017 and represents 21.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

The education sector will get the biggest chunk of the budget with a funding of PHP691.1 billion broken down as follows: Department of Education (DepED), PHP613.1 billion; Commission on Higher Education (CHED), PHP13.5 billion; and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), PHP64.6 billion.

The other agencies with the highest budgetary allocations are: Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH),PHP643.3 billion; Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), PHP172.3 billion; Department of Health (DOH), PHP164.3 billion; Department of National Defense (DND), PHP145 billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), PHP138 billion; Department of Transportation (DOTr), PHP73.8 billion; Department of Agriculture (DA), PHP54.2 billion; Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), PHP33.5 billion; and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), PHP27.9 billion.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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