Solon proposes to realign law enforcers' rice subsidy budget to PDLs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 31) — A lawmaker on Thursday proposed to realign the rice subsidy budget for uniformed personnel towards the food allowance of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).

"May I just put an input if you could do away with these? Donate these to the PDL. Imagine ₱70 per day ang subsistence nila (Their subsistence is only at ₱70 per day). Could that be possible?" said Zamboanga Sibugay 1st Dist. Rep. Wilter Palma during the budget briefing on the Department of Interior and Local Government's budget for 2024.

Uniformed personnel from the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology have been entitled to a monthly rice subsidy of ₱650 or a total of 20 kilograms of rice since 2018.

For 2023, PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said that the police force has a rice subsidy allocation of more than ₱1 billion for 213,202 uniformed cops.

When pressed if the PNP agrees to the proposal to realign their rice subsidy budget towards PDLs, Acorda replied: "For PNP, sir, we leave this to the discretion of this body."

Although the BFP is fine with the proposal, it noted that the 20 kgs of rice per month is a big help to the low-ranking officers.

"On the side of bureau of fire, the 20 kgs allocation per month is big deal for those lower ranks, from the ranks of fire officer 1 to fire officer 2," said BFP director Louie Puracan.

Meanwhile, the BJMP agreed with Palma's suggestion.

The Department of Justice earlier said that PDLs' food allowance remains at ₱70 per day, but the Bureau of Correction recently proposed to increase it to ₱100 daily.