MANILA, Philippines - They are out in the field fighting the enemies of the state and yet the country's elite policemen and soldiers deployed in conflict areas only receive a hazard pay of P240 a month.
Their combat pay is P1,020, which they receive only every quarter.
The measly allowances of members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and Armed Forces of the Philippines were brought up during Tuesday's hearing of the Senate on the Mamasapano incident.
"Dir. Napeñas, 'yung mga pulis po na nakaistasyon sa MILF areas o sa mga danger zones sa ARMM, for example, mayroon po ba silang hazard pay o added compensation du'n sa banta na kinakaharap nila?" asked Senator Sonny Angara, directing his question to relieved SAF Director Getulio Napeñas.
(Dir. Napeñas, do the police stationed in MILF areas or danger zones in the ARMM, for example, receive hazard pay or added compensation amid the dangers they face?)
MILF is Moro Islamic Liberation Front while ARMM stands for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Responding to Angara's query, Napeñas said: "We receive a hazard pay that's P240 monthly then combat pay of P1,020 for every three months, every quarter, your honour."
"Yung combat pay po, your honour, that is only given to 'yung mga tactical units. Hindi po natatanggap 'yan ng mga regular police stations, except 'yung mga nasa critical areas, tumatanggap din po sila. 'Yung mga nasa Metro Manila o nasa Laguna, I believe tumatanggap din po sila," he further siad, responding to a follow up question by a senator.
(The combat pay, your honour, is only given to tactical units. Those stationed in regular police stations-except those which are in critical areas-don't receive that. Those who are in Metro Manila or Laguna, I believe, also receive that.)
Angara also asked AFP Chief General Gregorio Pio Catapang, who was present in the hearing, if soldiers in conflict areas have also been getting "extra" compensation.
"P240…per month po," said Catapang, pointing out that this additional pay is only given to those who are assigned in the field, and does not include those in the headquarters.