PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo played Santa Claus to the Armed Forces of the Philippines on their 68th anniversary on Friday and approved the release of 30 million pesos for soldiers' housing, GMA Network's radio and television reported.At that time, it was blatant election-related gimmick by GMA to buy our soldier's support for her "re-election" campaign in 2004.
"I hope that as mother of the Armed Forces, you won't forget that I increased your pay," Ms Macapagal said in a speech aired on "Flash Report".
It's like she's saying: "O, bilang 'Mother Hen' ng AFP, itinaas ko ang sweldo nyo ha! Wag nyong kalimutan yan sa Mayo 2004."
But now after she "won" the presidency, mukhang binabawi na niya ang mga pre-election benefits na ibinibigay niya sa mga sundalo natin.
From the Tribune:
First it was a cut in rice subsidy for soldiers, on military claims that rice rations benefit only the soldiers in Mindanao, while those who fight it out with the insurgents in the battlefields of Luzon and the Visayas get nothing.If GMA is not careful, we might have another coup in our hands.
Then, the newly-appointed Defense Secretary Avelino “Nonong” Cruz, disclosed the administration's plan to sell, or lease to interested private parties the sprawling government prime property along North Avenue in Quezon City where the Veterans Memorial and Medical Center (VMMC), complete with an 18-hole golf course is located, in an effort to raise funds and stem the bleeding in the bankrupt military pension fund.
Now, Malacañang and the Defense department are said to be planning a cut in pay for all personnel in the Armed Forces, whether civilian or military, under the guise of an austere government-imposed five days of leaves for credits and merits but with the intended “savings” meant to fill the empty coffers of the bankrupt Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) Retirement Separation and Benefits System (RSBS).
A senior ranking military officer attached to the Philippine Army, who asked not to be named, told the Tribune yesterday that Malacañang and the DND (Department of National Defense), as well as the AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Narciso Abaya, worrying over a possible military uprising supported by the new retirees and retired military personnel, who cannot be paid their pension and benefits, have proposed a requirement for all AFP personnel to take a five day unpaid leave of absence, with the savings to go into the RSBS coffers to augment the Palace's infusion of some P380 million to the pension fund. The source said this plan to have the personnel of the AFP to go on leaves in exchange for credits was “worrisome” as national security and defense tactics and strategies may be “compromised,” pointing out that the a five day leave, even if taken in turns by the military personnel, will still mean a diminution of personnel.
“Soldiers in the field will also be made to take their leaves and in the field we need all hands to fight the enemies of the state,” he said, adding that no matter how the Palace and the DND package this new fund raising scheme to save the bankrupt pension plan, the military's morale, already low, will further deteriorate.