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Duterte increases salary of soldiers

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija – Christmas is coming early for the country’s soldiers.

Determined to keep his campaign promise, President Duterte announced that soldiers would receive “incremental increase” in their salary starting next month.

Addressing soldiers stationed at Fort Magsaysay here, the President admitted the government has limited funds but he has asked Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to find a way to bankroll the salary increase for the soldiers.

“Ang sabi ko kay Secretary Diokno, mapahiya ako sa mga sundalo. Sabi ko you have to look for a way. Starting next month, mag-incremental increase na ang suweldo ninyo,” the President said, eliciting cheers from the battle-ready soldiers.

“Pangako ko doblado,” Duterte added during the assembly held at the basketball gym inside the military camp.

Duterte explained to the soldiers the government’s tight fiscal situation, saying he entered the presidency “midstream” when the 2016 national budget has already been approved. The proposed 2017 national budget, on the other hand, is already being finalized, he added.

Diokno earlier announced that there was no allocation for the salary hike for the country’s policemen and soldiers in the proposed 2017 national budget. Instead of the proposed wage increase, the government reportedly wanted to prioritize the funding for the pending pension payments for the military and police in the P3.35-trillion national budget proposal.

When he was campaigning for the presidency, Duterte promised to double the salary of the uniformed personnel to motivate them to do their jobs better.

Apart from salary increase, the President also told the soldiers about the government’s plans to further purchase more equipment and ammonite for the military. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)