Heroes Hall, Malacañang
January 31, 2017

“It is within the soul na malaman mo ang morale… Your jobs as Sergeants Major is to look into the soul, sa loob ng tao,” said President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as he urged more than a hundred sergeants major from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to hold the morale of their troops above everything else in a traditional dinner at the Heroes Hall in Malacañan Palace.

“Our job is to see to it na sa roots niya, komportable siya,” the President declared.

President Duterte continued by saying that the home is the morale source of a soldier, and emphasized the importance of their families. He added, “Ang una talaga, pagkain at pamilya niya.”

The President also invited them to contact his staff directly for help, especially concerning the education and health of their families. “Anytime it exceeds the capacity of somebody within the ranks, call me,” he said.

On another note, President Duterte refreshed his offer to have the Presidential airplane retrofitted as an air ambulance by the AFP. He also reiterated his promise last year that the necessary medical equipment and infrastructures for the AFP will be delivered.

The President also spoke about the 40% salary increase for the military, and said that the sergeants major are some of the first to receive it. He added that the administration has reserved funds for the provision of .45 caliber Glock pistols for every soldier for their defense when they are not on duty.

President Duterte discussed the terror threats in the Philippines and its brutality, specifically the involvement of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, commonly known as ISIS.

He spoke about the sorrow and hardships that the family of a fallen soldier go through and said, “Kailangan kapag biyuda, libre na ang anak.” President Duterte added that the provision of jobs for widows must be ensured and until a law is in place to guarantee their families’ welfare, the Office of the President would take care of them.

The President was accompanied in the event by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Sergeant Major FCMS Romeo Jandugan (Inf) PA, and other AFP officers.

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