- President told soldiers to expect an incremental salary increase by August
- He said he will not break his promise of doubling their salaries
- He also told them to prepare for conflict with CPP-NPA if peace talks don’t succeed
MANILA, Philippines – A day after his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte told members of both the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to expect an “incremental” increase in their salaries by August.
“I already promised. Remember this, there was a budget for that; I promised I’d increase your salary but it wasn’t in the budget. I told Sec. Diokno I’d be embarrassed before the soldiers. I said you have to look for ways,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as telling military and police personnel in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija. “I promised to double it, you will get it.”
“I assure you, nobody loves the police as much as I love them,” he added.
At the same time, Duterte told them to prepare for conflict should peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) break down.
“We will be ready for an instant failure. If it does not push through, then we fight, we can’t do anything about it,” he said.
Duterte, who earlier ordered a unilateral ceasefire with the communists, also urged rebels belonging to the Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic Liberation Front to cut ties with the bandit group Abu Sayyaf.
“I want to hear from them that they no longer have any connection. Because the Abu Sayyaf, the weapons they use belongs to them,” he said.
“If they do not want to cut ties with the Abu Sayyaf, I do not think there will be a significant result in the peace talks,” Duterte added.