‘Nagbubuwis din kami ng buhay:’ Magna carta for PDEA personnel pushed
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director-General Wilkins Villanueva on Tuesday pushed for the passage of a magna carta for anti-drug personnel amid investigations into a missing agent believed to have been abducted.
At least three senators backed such a proposal.
“Mapasama sana kami doon sa nare-receive ng uniformed personnel…yung magna carta benefits for PDEA personnel,” Villanueva said during a hearing of the Senate public order panel, which is looking into the case of missing agent Merton Fesway.
(I hope we will also be included in the coverage of benefits for uniformed personnel…magna carta benefits for PDEA personnel.)
“Nagbubuwis din kami ng buhay just like members of the uniformed personnel…Every time na aalis ang ahente, isang paa agad nasa kamatayan,” he added.
(We also risk our lives just like members of the uniformed personnel…Every time we have an operation, it’s like we already have one foot in the grave.)
As he pushed for the magna carta for PDEA personnel, Villanueva lamented that benefits for the surviving families of agents who died in line of duty only comes from contributions made in the agency’s provident fund.
“Meron kaming provident fund. ‘Pag hindi ka member doon, wala kang matatanggap,” he said.
(We have a provident fund. If you are not a member, you won’t receive anything.)
Villanueva further said that unlike for PDEA, there is allotted funding for the compensation of families in case the death of a uniformed personnel in the police force and the military.
“Wala pong ganyang ang PDEA [PDEA does not have those kind of benefits],” he stressed.
“Nakakalungkot dahil kung hindi ka insured, wala ka talagang matatanggap,” he added.
(It’s sad because agents won’t get anything unless they are insured.)
Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, chairman of the committee, expressed support for a measure that would establish a magna carta for PDEA agents.
He pointed out that PDEA only has 2,882 permanently filled positions, way lower than that of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as well as other law enforcement agencies.
“Ganoon sila kakonti. Ganon kaliit yung suswelduhan, hindi pa natin maibigay yung tama na salaries and emoluments na dapat sa kanila through a magna carta,” Dela Rosa, a former PNP chief, said.
(They are that few. They are that small yet we can’t even give them the right salaries and emoluments they should be entitled to through a magna carta.)
“I-compare mo sa ibang mga ahensya like BFP (Bureau of Fire Protection), BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology), BuCor (Bureau of Corrections), PNP, AFP na napakalaking organisasyon na nabigyan nga, ito pang napakaliit, napakaimportant na trabaho nila,” he added.
(If we compare ito to agencies like the BFP, BJMP, BuCor, PNP, AFP which were given such benefits despite being a large organization, what about a small agency like PDEA, which is performing a very important task.)
Senators Imee Marcos and Francis Tolentino backed the magna carta for PDEA personnel.
“Hahanapin natin ng pera [Let’s look for funding],” Marcos said, noting that the Senate is now in the early stages of deliberating on the 2022 national budget.