GORY, MORBID AND DETESTABLE
Congress urged to shoot down P 2-billion fund for 6,000 more troops
The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday urged lawmakers from both Houses of Congress to shoot down the proposal of Department of National Defense (DND) secretary Gilbert Teodoro to provide an additional P 2-billion budget for the recruitment of 6,000 new troops who will be tapped to enforce the 110,000 strong Armed Forces of the Philippines in effectively addressing the country’s security problems.
Dismissing the defense chief suggestion as “gory, morbid and detestable”, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap urged members of the House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate to frustrate Teodoro’s bid to secure more funds for the fresh recruitment of troops.
“Mr. Teodoro is acting like a modern-day military emperor who sees waging of an unjust and insane war as key to achieve peace and order in this country. This self-proclaimed presidentiable in case he wins the presidency in 2010 will turn this country into a full-blown and de jure military dictatorial state,” added Hicap.
The Pamalakaya leader asserted that it would be better for the defense secretary to instead push his principal in Malacañang to pursue the peace negotiation with the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) instead of employing more people for the government’s unjust war.
“Why spend P 2-billion of taxpayers’ money for an unjust and crazy war being waged by this reactionary and anti-people state? All Secretary Teodoro and his reactionary government have to do is to renounce the policy of state terror and work progressively for the attainment of just and lasting peace,” added Hicap.
According to Hicap the P 2-billion fund that will be earmarked for additional troops employment could be used to create productive 40,000 jobs at P 50,000 per job cost or 40,000 decent and simple housing at P 50,000 per housing unit to accommodate jobless and homeless people affected by the ongoing global economic and financial crisis.
“Secretary Teodoro is said to be training his sight to the 2010 presidency. But this political starlet and presidential wannabe has no sense of public service. All he wants is all-out war and this is totally objectionable,” the Pamalakaya leader said.
“As a presidential wannabe, Teodoro is going to electoral campaign and at the same time pushing his war freak escapade to the limit. This is outrageous,” said Hicap.
Speaking at a press conference during the annual Binirayan Festival in Iloilo, Teodoro said an additional 12 infantry battalions (around 500 soldiers per battalion) would address the need to saturate areas where conflicts between government troops and rebel or armed groups continued.
But the defense secretary said this number could change and would have to be validated because of the changing situation and security threats.
Teodoro further asserted hat increasing the number of soldiers would enable the Armed Forces to provide a deterrent against security threats and to conduct continual re-training while fighting the various armed groups.
According to the defense chief, the troops would also be stationed in areas cleared of rebels to ensure that armed groups would not return in these areas. Teodoro said one main reason for the continued existence of and abductions staged by the Abu Sayyaf bandit group was the shift of focus of military operations because of the lack of troops.
He said the priority should be not on high-tech equipment like multi-role fighter planes but on acquiring equipment for the infantry, including troop carriers, logistic vehicles, combat and civil engineering equipment. #