Senate defense committee approves increase of combat duty pay

Military personnel can now look forward to a better combat pay under a report submitted by the Senate committee on national defense to the upper chamber for approval.

Senator Chiz Escudero, defense committee chairman, said the committee has recommended a combat duty pay raise for personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) according to the danger they are exposed to.

Senate Committee Report No. 8 increases the combat duty pay of officers and enlisted personnel of the AFP from a minimum of five percent to a maximum of 25 percent of their base pay.

At present, each soldier assigned to combat zones receives a measly sum of P240 per month.

In the proposed measure, soldiers assigned to tactical brigades and its combat compliments will receive an increase based on the category of danger they are in. Those assigned to the most hazardous areas shall receive 25 percent of a private’s base pay, 15 percent for the more hazardous areas and 15 percent for the hazardous areas.

The current private base pay is P12,150.

“It has been 22 years since the AFP increased its combat pay for our soldiers. This is most timely given the increasingly hazardous duties our soldiers are facing in the service of our country coupled with inflation rates and higher cost of commodities and services. This will surely augment the salaries of those in the field whose one foot is already in the grave,” Escudero explained.

At present, there are 88,075 soldiers receiving combat duty pay. The AFP currently allocates a total of P253 million for the combat duty of its eligible soldiers.

Once the measure is approved, the AFP needs a total of P2.5 billion to fund the proposed increase.

The defense committee is joined by the finance com-mittee in pushing for the approval of the measure in the Senate.#