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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, July 30, 2013
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Magdalo seeking
hike in combat  pay

BY GILBERT BAYORAN

Ten years after staging the Oakwood mutiny on July 27, 2003, Magdalo leaders, now Reps. Gary Alejano of Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, and Ashley Acedillo of Cebu, made good on their promise to stand up for the rights of members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including the retirees.

Alejano and Acedillo, who ran under the Magdalo party-list group, have filed six legislative measures, including one for the increase of the combat pay of AFP officers and enlisted personnel from a minimum of five percent to a maximum of 25 percent of the base pay of a private.

This measure, if enacted into law, will increase the pay of soldiers in the frontlines of the wars government chose to fight, Alejano, said in a statement he issued.

Alejano, who used to be a Marine captain, during the short-lived military, which was participated in by almost 300 junior officers, also said, “While it is still my belief that the courage and valor our soldiers display on the battlefield cannot be measured by any monetary standard, an increase in compensation would help in boosting their morale.”

Negrense Army Capt. Milo Maestrecampo was among the Oakwood leaders, granted amnesty by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Alejano, was granted amnesty by President Benigno Aquino III in 2010.

The two Magdalo representatives also filed separate bills, among them, those for the establishment of Philippine Veterans Authority, increase of the group term insurance of AFP and PNP members, and Anti-Private Army law, which seeks to dismantle private armies and other armed groups not recognized by duly constituted authorities.

Another Magdalo leader, then Navy LTSG Antonio Trillanes, was also reelected as Senator.

“We have a strong ally in Senator Trillanes. We are confident that, working together, we will see these measures enacted into law,” Alejano said.

On July 27, 2003, Trillanes, Alejando Maestrecampo and about 300 soldiers occupied the Oakwood Hotel in Manila, placed bombs around it, and demanded the resignation of then President Arroyo, former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes , then PNP chief Hermogenes Ebdane, and other top military officials for alleged corruption, including the sale of arms and ammunition to rebels.

They were charged with the non-bailable crime of coup d’etat and detained for several years. In November 2007, they staged another protest at the Manila Peninsula Hotel.

In an interview, Alejano was quoted as saying , “Clearly, what we are now, and what we are doing now, are results of our desire for change for the better in our country 10 years ago when we staged a protest at the Oakwood hotel in Makati.”* GPB

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