President Rodrigo R. Duterte vowed to give priority to the welfare of the military and police personnel as he urged them to intensify the government’s offensive against criminality and urban terrorism.
In his speech before soldiers of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) in Zamboanga City last Thursday, the President said the salary increases for the police and the military will push through but on a staggered basis.
This after Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno was quoted as saying last week that the government will not be able to fulfill Duterte’s commitment to double the basic salary of state forces in his first year in office because the proposed P3.35 trillion budget for 2017 did not include such an allocation.
But last Thursday, Duterte said he will stand by his promise but it will not be as immediate as he had planned.
He also said members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and law enforcement agencies such as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are included in the salary increases.
The President also revealed plans to develop the V. Luna General Hospital in Quezon City into one of the best medical centers in the country, and to give the soldiers, policemen, and their families the best medical care.
At the same time, Duterte said he will add around 3,000 police officers to meet the challenges of urban terrorism. “In our talks during the command conference, I was informed there is a need for more soldiers,” he said.
He also told the police and military not to be scared in discharging their duties for the country.
He said it embarrasses the country when soldiers and policemen cannot stop criminality and terrorism with foreigners and locals being killed or executed.
“But in the long term, you know we have a problem. As a nation, it has started many, many years ago, para tayong sinasampal na (it’s like we’re being slapped) every time there is a foreigner executed or a local killed, and with the dimensions such as yung nakikita kasi may pelikula, ‘yung mapapahiya (those that have filmed footage, it’s quite embarrassing),” he said.