Soldiers are men and women, who willingly risk their lives on each and every single one of us. Soldiers are men and women, who have their own families to look after, still selflessly choose to look after millions. Soldiers are men and women, who even unarmed, bravely face guns and bullets, missiles and tanks, and thousands of armies, just to defend and protect every inch of an island of their beloved country. Soldiers are men and women, who go to battle fearlessly and return home wounded. Soldiers are men and women, who pledged to serve their nation for the rest of their lives. Soldiers are men and women, who ought to be honoured as heroes. Soldiers are men and women, who duly deserve recognition and appreciation.
Our newly-elected President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself pays respect to every soldier of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as he personally pledged to wounded soldiers confined in AFP Medical Center in V. Luna General Hospital, Quezon City, “I will serve you and I will not abandon you.” The Chief executive even sits down beside beds of each patient and comforted them, showing no intimidation and supremacy, and honours each soldier with a salute. Soldiers are visibly overwhelmed on how the President heartedly and genuinely expressed his deepest gratitude to them.
President Duterte gone emotional as a young soldier, Lt. Jerome Jacuba, who lost his eyesight in the line of duty, hugs him and gives a salute to the President. The President presented himself neither menacing and daunting, nor an unapproachable Chief Executive, but as a friend or even a big brother that any soldier can lean on anytime. He told them if anyone of them needed anything; medical assistance, financial assistance, tuition fees for their children, or anything he could help, the President will be standing by them.
He vowed to give prior to the welfare of the military within his six-year term. “I’ll take care of you,” he said to one of the patients. He promised after visiting wounded soldiers undergoing treatment and rehabilitation at the said hospital to fund PHP 500 million for the construction of new state-of-the-art building facilities and equipment for the AFP Medical Center. He rests assured that there will dramatic changes within the scope of the soldiers’ benefits which aims to acknowledge their contributions to the Constitution to fulfil the government’s will to maintain peace.
”I don’t want the lowest bid because it is a source of corruption. I will talk to the COA (Commission on Audit). I will personally supervise the bidding. It will be a clean government,” President Duterte said. He also guaranteed that all military equipment, particularly firearms, should be with the best quality. He would also want to implement a program which provides free education to children of soldiers, as he stated, “Hindi ako nambobola. Matutupad yan free education.” He again mentioned about him fulfilling his promise regarding the soldiers’ salary increase and added that he will continue the salary of the soldiers for three years after they retired from the service.
The President also said the release of the AFP and police benefits should be faster, and even quoted “I don’t want to see the widow kept on coming back just to get the benefits. It’s not good.” He also wants the every AFP unit should have one anti-drug group that helps the government in its fight against anti-illegal drugs. And he won’t allow a group of people to destroy them and the country, telling the soldiers that the government has a big task of dealing 3.7 million drug dependents.
Hopefully, all of these promises will be fulfilled by our President, for our soldiers are now encouraged to achieve improved changes with such a humane and compassionate leader we have today. Soldiers and their families deserve these, for they are men and women who unselfishly sacrificed their whole lives serving people and the nation.