By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers is proposing to institute a Magna Carta of Benefits for the officers and personnel of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to provide them acceptable living and working conditions, better terms of employment and career opportunities in order to effectively carry out their mandate.
He said PDEA men and women have been given a huge task to safeguard the country and the well-being of its people, particularly the youth, from the harmful effects of dangerous drugs.
“The PDEA, as the lead agency in the government’s anti-drug campaign, exposes its personnel to dangerous situations, especially now that many drug syndicates are affected by the administration’s all-out war against illegal drugs. It is unfortunate that despite the critical role they play in the society, their economic well-being and professional development are afforded little attention as per existing law,” Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, said.
He filed House Bill 9016 or the proposed “Magna Carta of the Drug Enforcement Officers and Other Personnel of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency” to promote and improve the well-being and economic welfare of the PDEA men and women.
“In return for ensuring that our nation is safe from dangers of illegal drugs, this bill seeks to ensure that PDEA agents are provided sufficient compensation and accorded avenues for professionalization,” he said
Under HB 9016, the PDEA officers and personnel shall be entitled to receive the following allowances aside from their basic salary based on the Salary Standardization Law: monthly P2,000 personnel economic relief allowance (PERA); P5,000 clothing allowance; P1,500 uniform allowance; hazard pay equivalent to 30 percent of the basic salary monthly salary; combat pay equivalent to 25 percent of basic monthly salary; representation and transportation allowances; longevity pay; and special counsel allowance ranging from P1,250 to P4,000 per month.
The bill also provides that PDEA officers be entitled to subsistence allowance of three meals in a day, while administrative and technical personnel be entitled to subsistence allowance of one meal.
Officers who are transferred from one assignment to another by virtue of PDEA policies on reshuffling or rotation of personnel and do not own houses or other types of residence shall be provided quarters within the office premises, it provides.
Under HB 9016, PDEA personnel and officers shall receive 13th and 14th month pay and P5,000 cash gift; performance-based bonus, and productivity enhancement incentive.
The measure also provides that PDEA personnel shall be entitled to anniversary bonus amounting P3,000 and another P3,000 for every five succeeding years.
An annual medical and dental examinations shall be provided to every employee at the expense of PDEA, it said.
The bill tasks the PDEA to formulate and prepare the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act within 90 days from its approval.
Violators of the proposed Act shall be slapped with a fine ranging from P20,000 to P40,000 or imprisonment of not more than one year, or both at the discretion of the court.