MANILA — Military personnel, especially those serving in front line units deployed in active zones, are very happy with President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 3 which fixed their monthly combat pay to PHP3,000 effective September 1.
Considered as front line areas in the Philippine military are Basilan, Sulu and Maguindanao.
This was stressed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla in press conference Monday.
“Morale of our troops, especially those serving in front-line areas, have skyrocketed with news of these latest benefits. They are happy that their sacrifices are now being recognized more,” he said in Filipino.
This is PHP2,500 higher than the PHP500 given to qualified military personnel, he added.
EO 3 also stipulates troopers, in front line units and have lawfully engaged enemy or hostile forces, are entitled to receive a daily combat incentive pay of PHP300 but not higher than PHP3,000.
Padilla said that an estimated 70,000 AFP personnel, mostly ground forces, are expected to receive these benefits.
Initially, these benefits will be taken from the AFP’s Miscellaneous Personnel Funds for 2016, he added.
Padilla is hopeful that the 2017 General Appropriations Act, which is now under deliberation, will include the new combat pay and combat incentive pay.
The AFP spokesperson estimates that the military needs an additional PHP5 billion to fund these benefits. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA-northboundasia.com