MANILA, Philippines — Senators Raffy Tulfo and Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Tuesday lamented the soldiers’ subsistence allowance of P150, saying it is not enough for their daily food budget.
The two senators brought the matter during the Senate Committee of Finance hearing for the 2023 budget proposal of the Department of National Defense.
Defense officer-in-charge Jose Faustino Jr. said that the subsistence allowance of soldiers remains at P150, which they stretch for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
“Yes, 150 pa din po ito, kung tinitignan natin sya ng P150 per day, sa field, sa kasundaluhan. Sa aming lahat sir, binabalanse pa po iyon ng almusal, tanghalian, hapunan,” Faustino said.
(Yes, it’s still 150. We budget it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.)
“Minsan noong kampanya, nagi-ikot ako, nakikita ko mga sundalo ninyo, sardinas po ang inuulam. Kawawa naman po. Ano po ang mabibili ng 150 pesos per day ngayon? Three times a day sila kakain, kulang po yun, Di po sapat yun,” Tulfo said.
(When traveling during the campaign, I saw soldiers eating sardines. Such a pity. What can you buy for P150 per day? They have to eat three times a day. That’s not enough.)
“Kung ako ang tatanungin, yung P150 wala pa siguro, hindi pa tayo makabili ng magandang hamburger niyan. Makatikim man lang siguro mga sundalo natin ng masasarap na pagkain kasi sila po ang nagbabantay sa atin.
(If I were to ask, you could not even buy a good hamburger with P150. The soldiers should have a good meal since they care for us.)
“Nakakatulog po tayo ng mahimbing sa gabi knowing na nandoon sila, tapos ginugutom natin sila,” Tulfo continued.
(We could sleep soundly at night knowing they were there [keeping us safe], yet we let them go hungry.)
Dela Rosa also said it is high time to increase the subsistence allowance of the soldiers from P150.
With the current crisis now, dela Rosa said: “Suka, toyo, asin lang yang mabibili mo dyan sa P150, tapos all the rest hahanapin na yan ng sundalo sa kalsada, ano ang maha-harvest nila na dahon dahon sa kalsada, alam natin yan.”
(You could only buy vinegar, soy sauce, and salt with P150, then the rest of the soldiers would have to look for leafy vegetables they could harvest in the streets.)
The present subsistence allowance was approved by the late President Benigno Aquino in 2014.
Before that, the subsistence allowance of soldiers was only P90 a day.