MANILA – All regular officers and enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will donate a portion of their base pay to help the government deal with the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.
This came after President Rodrigo Duterte, in a televised address on Monday night, said the government would not have sufficient funds to completely deal with the disease’s massive impact.
“In commiserating with our kababayans who were unfortunate to contract the disease; and as a manifestation of full support to government, each regular member of the AFP – from the highest-ranking general to the lowest-ranking personnel – will donate an amount based from a certain percentage deduction from their respective base pays for the month of May,” AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement forward to reporters Tuesday afternoon.
“Since their salaries for the month of April are already out for payment, the donation – deductible from their base pays for the month of May – will be available by the third week of April,” he added.
Arevalo said the base pay deduction would be equitable according to rank, with AFP chief-of-staff, Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. contributing PHP10,484 and the lowest ranking soldier with the rank of private, airman, or an apprentice seaman donating PHP100.
“With this amount drawn from our individual base pays for a month, we hope to help augment scarce government resources,” he said.
The AFP initiative is expected to raise PHP16,953,490.04, which will then be turned over to the Office of Civil Defense to procure medical supplies and equipment.
“Through this humble gesture of AFP solidarity and unwavering support to the government it is sworn to protect and defend, we aim to share the burden in the nation’s fight against this contagion,” Santos added.
He, meanwhile, expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to extend the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon until April 30.
“We shall carry out our tasks with the same fervor and undiminished dedication we had since Day 1. We helped prevent the spread of the virus; we are determined to save more lives whether in the checkpoints, in the quarantine areas, or in the communities,” Santos added.
He also expressed the AFP’s commitment to win over the Covid-19 pandemic, noting that the military is one with the Filipino people in hurdling this hardship.
“Our heart goes out to our people. Seeing and feeling their hardships daily from the checkpoints, quarantine centers, and relief distribution sites we man, we commit to them our resolute efforts to win over this pandemic. We are one with them in keeping the faith that together we will hurdle this test of the Filipino’s indomitable spirit,” he said.
Santos said he is confident that the nation and the people will “heal as one”. (PNA)