MANILA–President Rodrigo Duterte commended the members of the Philippine Army for their sacrifices to the country during their 120th anniversary celebration as he promised them continuous support to effectively do their jobs.
“Since the establishment of the Philippine Army 120 years ago, our history is replete with tales of our soldiers’ great sacrifices and significant victories to best protect our people and our national sovereignty,” the President said in his speech at the Philippine Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio on Tuesday, April 4.
In line with the government’s modernization program on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the present leadership has been providing telecommunication apparatus, firepower and infantry fighting vehicles to the Army, the President said.
The administration allocated almost PHP6.5 billion for Philippine Army projects under the Revised AFP Modernization Plan to procure individual equipment such as rifles, pistols, grenade launchers and force protection armors.
The President noted that he signed an Executive Order last September increasing the combat pay of soldiers from PHP500 to PHP3,000 per month and their combat incentive pay from PHP150 to PHP300 a day.
Also, the Department of Budget and Management is also working on the proposed compensation adjustment to increase the base and hazard pays of military personnel, President Duterte said.
He said the GSIS will also study the possibility of having a housing loan program that will complement the soldier’s ability to pay, noting that soldiers are more confident to perform their mandate if their loved ones are well-sheltered.
He also called on the Philippine Army and all branches of the military to continue helping the administration’s drive against illegal drugs.
At the same time, the President asked the members of the military to forego the houses intended for them in Bulacan, stressing that his government will build new homes in another location.
“I am asking you kung maaari lang. Do not be offended. Take it with an open mind. Ako na mismo, inyong Presidente, nakikiusap sa inyo. Let us not wage a fight against our own people,” he said.
“Tutal mahirap lang ‘yan sila, intindihin na lang ninyo. And I will build another housing project for you soonest and I intend to complete it by December,” he added.
He warned the members of Kadamay not to create trouble in the housing sites they occupied and avoid harassing the soldiers and policemen who are already residing there.
“Do not create trouble, avoid chaos, and we will try to solve what ails this country,” the President said.