By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has commended the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs for the approval of a bill seeking to provide additional benefits for its officers and personnel.

In a statement on Friday, the agency said this will address the prevailing concern of its employees to receive benefits and compensation equivalent to their police and military counterparts.

“The bill aims to ensure that PDEA Drug Enforcement Officers (DEOs) and personnel are provided with sufficient compensation and accorded avenues for professional growth,” it added.

The bill seeks to promote and improve the well-being and economic welfare of the men and women of the PDEA by providing them with acceptable living and working conditions, better terms of employment, and career opportunities in order to effectively carry out their mandate.

During its Feb. 21 hearing, the committee chaired by Surigao del Norte Representative Robert “Ace” Barbers, approved House Bill 91, subject to style and amendment, which would institute the Magna Carta of benefits for the PDEA officers and personnel.

Under the bill, PDEA Officers and other personnel are entitled to receive the following allowances/ benefits aside from their basic salary covered by the Salary Standardization Law:

-Hazard Duty Pay — PDEA personnel exposed to occupational hazards or elements, or hazardous jobs involving high risk of losing life, limbs, or likely deterioration, shall be entitled to hazard duty pay;

-Subsistence Allowance — DEOs shall be entitled to subsistence allowance at a rate under specific laws, rules and regulations, while administrative and technical personnel shall be entitled to a subsistence allowance of one meal to be computed in accordance with prevailing circumstances; and

-Annual Medical and Dental Examinations — Annual free medical and dental examinations shall be provided to every employee in accordance with the “Universal Health Law”.

A well-rationalized career development program shall be provided by PDEA to its personnel for them to acquire a commendable level of professionalism, competence, commitment to service, transparency, respect for human dignity and integrity.

A merit and promotion plan shall also be promulgated by PDEA to ensure that every employee is given fair and equal career advancement opportunities. (PNA)