VERA FILES FACT SHEET: Duterte complains about his salary and lack of allowance; here’s why he can’t just be given his ‘ideal’ P1M pay

President Rodrigo Duterte on Feb. 22 complained that besides drawing a small salary as president, he has no meal or representation allowance.

Sa pagod ko tapos alam mo ang sweldo ko? 200. Dalawa ang asawa ko- Wala akong meal allowance, wala akong representation (My job is exhausting, but guess what, I only get paid P200,000. I have two spouses. have no meal or representation allowance),” he said, understating his salary by P98,000. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte understates his salary again)

Ang ideal salary ko, ako- ako ang mag-estimate, dapat sa akin talaga, walang biruan- 1 million. 500 (My ideal salary, if I were to estimate, no kidding, I should be receiving P1 million- P500,000),” he added.

Why can’t Duterte just receive his desired pay?

The Constitution prohibits any salary increase or decrease for the president and vice president during their tenure. It also limits the compensation the two highest officials in the land can receive while in office:

“The salaries of the President and Vice-President shall be determined by law and shall not be decreased during their tenure. No increase in said compensation shall take effect until after the expiration of the term of the incumbent during which such increase was approved. They shall not receive during their tenure any other emolument from the Government or any other source.”

Source: 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines Article VII, Section 6

Duterte already earns more than his predecessor Benigno Simeon Aquino III, reaping the benefits of the Aquino-signed Executive Order No. 201, which sought to increase salaries of government officials annually in four tranches.

A 2009 joint resolution authorizes the president to modify the compensation of government personnel, and allots several “allowances, benefits and incentives” to them. The allowances and benefits are classified in two general categories: standard and specific-purpose.

Standard allowances and benefits are given to all employees in government across agencies “at prescribed rates, guidelines, rules and regulations.” These include uniform and clothing allowance, year-end bonus and cash gifts and personal economic relief allowance to augment the rising cost of living.

Specific-purpose allowances and benefits are given in specific situations connected to the actual performance jobs. These include hazard and overtime pay, subsistence or meal allowance, and representation and travel allowance (RATA) among others.

RATA is available to select government officials, from Cabinet secretaries to division chiefs. Public officials who are provided with government vehicles are not entitled to a travel allowance, only a representation allowance.

These two allowances are provided on a monthly basis, based on the number of days of actual work performance and can either be commutable or reimbursable.

Every year, the General Appropriations Act allocates these compensation to all government agencies.

This year, the Office of the President (OP) is receiving P8.9 million in representation allowance. Last year, P10 million was appropriated to OP for representation allowance. Duterte’s office is also getting another P8.9 million in transportation allowance and P3.9 million in clothing allowance.


Radio Television Malacañang, Speech of President Rodrigo Duterte in Iloilo City, Feb. 22, 2018, watch from 27:38 to 28:22

Department of Budget and Management, General Appropriations Act 2018, Office of the President

Department of Budget and Management, General Appropriations Act 2017, Office of the President

Department of Budget and Management, General Appropriations Act, General Provisions Fiscal Year 2018

Department of Budget and Management, National Budget Circular No. 548, s. 2013

Official Gazette, 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines Article VII, Section 6

Official Gazette, Executive Order No. 201, s. 2016

Official Gazette, Joint Resolution No. 4, s. 2009

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative.)