PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has approved the granting of hazard pay to Drug Enforcement Officers (DEOs) of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) retroactive effective January this year, an official said Wednesday.

According to PDEA Director General Isidro Lapeña, the PDEA agents will receive P2,000 a month, with the budget to be charged to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), not to the savings of PDEA.

“The hazard pay is definitely a morale-booster that will increase productivity and efficiency of PDEA agents and personnel. They shall receive retroactive hazard pay effective January 2016 on top of their monthly salaries starting September 2016,” he said.

Prior to the approval, the hazard pay for PDEA agents was not included in the agency’s 2016 budget. The allocation was requested from the DBM, subject to availability of funds.

“Our PDEA operatives are directly exposed to varied dangers and health risks during the conduct of anti-drug operations. They deserve to be given additional compensation for performing hazardous duties,” Lapeña added.

The personnel who are eligible to receive monthly hazard duty pay include the directors who are actually involved or participating in the conduct of anti-drug operations; and intelligence officers, investigation agents, security officers, special investigators, and personnel who are actually involved in the conduct of anti-drug operations.

PDEA chemists, who are performing laboratory or field duties, are also entitled to hazard allowances provided under Republic Act 8439, otherwise known as the “Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers and other Science and Technology Personnel in Government”, as approved by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The budget allocation devoted to the hazard pay of PDEA agents and personnel will be included in the agency’s 2017 General Appropriations Act (GAA), in accordance with pertinent laws, rules and regulations, Lapeña said.

The Director General said that personnel of other government agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Department of Health (DOH) were given hazard pay due to the inherent risks involved in their jobs.

Duterte has declared an all-out war against illegal drugs. (SDR/Sunnex)