INCREASING the salaries of members of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces is but a fitting tribute for soldiers and policemen who offered their lives or were badly wounded while fighting terrorists, criminals including armed drug dealers, kidnappers and other enemies of the state, officials said yesterday.
“The resolution of increasing the salaries of the police and soldiers is a fitting recognition of the selfless sacrifice of the members of the organization. For the PNP, we can only offer our best performance of duty to humbly deserve the recognition by our people even at the cost of our lives,” said PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Dionardo B. Carlos.
He referred to scores of policemen who were killed or maimed while fighting ISIS-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Marawi City as well as those who died while running after kidnappers and drug dealers last year.
Among them were Supt. Arthur Masungsong, the member of PNP Academy Class 1997, who was shot dead by one of four heavily-armed kidnappers during a rescue operation in Angat, Bulacan before Christmas Day.
Four of the heavily-armed kidnappers, who posed as policemen conducting “Tokhang” operations, were killed during the operation which also led in the safe rescue of KFR victim Raziel Esguerra Bungay.
There is also the case of Police Officer 3 Wilfredo Gueta, of the Pasig City police, who was killed in a gunfight with drug traffickers last December 18.
President Rodrigo Duterte visited the wake of PO3 Gueta and paid tribute to the slain cop who was promoted posthumously to the next higher rank.
A total of 168 government troopers, five of them policemen, were also killed in the five-month Marawi City siege, the last of them identified as Marine Private Alejandro Balean. The soldier was initially reported missing in action in Marawi City. It turned out that he fell into the Agus River while their platoon was maneuvering against the enemy.
His colleagues tried but failed to retrieve him from the water due to the strong current and heavy gunfire from the enemies.
The soldier’s decomposing body was recovered last August 3 and a DNA test showed that the cadaver was Balean’s.
Members of the PNP and the AFP could expect to receive around double their salary this coming January 15 payday.
Only the lowest ranks will receive the 100 percent pay increase as officers are set to get less than 100 percent increase.
However, the salary hike is expected to further boost the morale of government troops who continuously risk their lives to keep the country safe.
Most of the lower ranks will receive the full pay increase starting January 1 but higher ranks will undergo a two-tranche increase.