• Soldiers’ pay hike will be incremental

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    PAY HIKE ASSURED President Rodrigo Duterte assures soldiers at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija that he will double their pay, with installments starting next month. Duterte told the military his declaration of a unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels was also a Cabinet decision. SCREEN GRAB

    PAY HIKE ASSURED President Rodrigo Duterte assures soldiers at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija that he will double their pay, with installments starting next month. Duterte told the military his declaration of a unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels was also a Cabinet decision. SCREEN GRAB

    PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija: President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday announced that salary increases for soldiers will push through, but in installments, starting next month.

    Duterte made the promise to government troops in the country’s biggest military reservation, just days after Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said there was no money for the pay hike.

    “I told Secretary Diokno, ‘I will lose face before the soldiers.’ I told him, ‘You have to look for a way.’ Starting next month, there will be an incremental increase in your salaries,” Duterte said, with National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and Defense chief Delfin Lorenzana, behind him.

    “I promised to double your salary, you will get it,” the President added, without giving details on the schedule of installments. The soldiers cheered.

    Duterte, the country’s commander in chief, was at Fort Magsaysay, home of the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division led by Maj. Gen. Angelito de Leon.

    Before meeting the soldiers, Duterte attended a command conference with officials of the 7th Infantry, the Special Operations Command, the Army Artillery Regiment, Combat Arms School, Training and Doctrines Command, and the Army Aviation Battalion.

    Duterte reassured soldiers that he will protect them, particularly if they are charged in court as they carry out orders.

    “If it is in the performance of your duty … I will protect you,” he said.

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