A bigger slice of the regular fund under the P258.35 billion that the Department of National Defense (DND) proposed as its budget for next year will go to the payment of salaries of personnel, and pensions of war veterans and retired soldiers, a copy of the proposed allocation that was submitted to Congress revealed.
Based on the budget proposal, about P188.65 billion of the total budget will form part of the regular fund of the DND, which includes the Armed Forces of the Philippines and attached agencies. The latter include the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, the Government Arsenal, Office of Civil Defense and the Veterans Memorial Medical Center.
Of the P188.65 billion, P119.12 billion or about 46 percent of the total fund was earmarked for personnel services, while P40.70 billion or about 16 percent will go to the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE). On the other hand, P28.83 billion or 11 percent will fund the agency’s various projects or serves as capital outlay money.
The capitalization for the personnel services and MOOE increased at the amount of P3.24 billion and P1.45 billion, respectively, while the capital outlay decreased for about P2.26 billion when compared to the current budget of the DND, which is lower by P2.43 billion or 1.3 percent.
The increase in personnel services fund was justified by Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana during the hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations last week. Lorenzana said that the amount will be used to fund the salaries and retirement benefits of soldiers.
The DND chief added that the P119.12 billion will cover the pay of 148,668 uniformed personnel, 69,938 Cafgu members and 12,400 civilian employees, which has increased in number. It will also fund the “terminal” leave and retirement gratuity benefits of soldiers.
The budget proposal showed that the total allocation for war veterans and military pensioners is at P69.70 billion or about 27 percent of the total budget, with the amount allotted for the pension of AFP retirees alone having increased by 29 percent or an equivalent of P11.93 billion.
The increase was borne by the implementation of the Joint Resolution 1 or the increase in pension of military retirees.
The allocation for veterans also went up by 6 percent or an equivalent of P740 million due to the implementation of Republic Act 11164 or the law mandating for the increase in old age of pension of World War II veterans from P5,000 to P20,000.
On the other hand, the increase of P1.45 billion in the MOOE was mainly due to the inflationary effects on “inflation-indexed items,” sustainment of military units and other expenses related to the ongoing capability upgrade program.
The proposed budget for the capital outlay decreased by about P2.26 billion after “non-recurring projects were factored out.”