MANILA, Philippines — His sustained efforts to boost the morale of soldiers and policemen, particularly those battling extremists in Marawi City, is among the most laudable accomplishments of President Rodrigo Duterte as he marks his first year in office, a predecessor said.
Former President Gloria Macagapal-Arroyo, now Pampanga congresswoman, also wished Duterte “success and the best of health for the rest of his term as he fulfils his mandate for the nation and for the people.”
“President Rodrigo Duterte has shown awesome leadership and resolve in the many programs that he promised to do during his presidency,” she said.
“In his first year, he managed to institute various bold reforms against illegal drugs and corruption. His Build, Build, Build initiative is commendable and is a step in the right direction towards achieving inclusive growth,” she added.
But more than his accomplishments in his work as president, Arroyo said Duterte inspired and united the Filipino people towards effecting change for the country.
She also said that Duterte’s consistent concern for government troops have inspired them to carry out their mandate of protecting the nation and the people.
“The least a leader can do to increase the morale of the defenders of our democracy and peace is to make sure that their families do not go hungry,” she said.
Arroyo noted Duterte’s regular visits to soldiers in the field, and the increased pay and benefits given to members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police since July 2016.
Among the latest hike in benefits is soldiers’ combat pay which has been raised to P3,000.00 monthly under Executive Order No. 3.
Arroyo said during her presidency, she implemented the law increasing policemen’s salaries, which was passed in 1992 but not funded.
It was also during her stint, she added, that Congress passed Republic Act 9166 to increase the pay of AFP personnel and raise the pension of recipients of the Medal of Valor and their families to P25,000 monthly.
The President said Arroyo recently visited him, but he did not give details of the meeting.