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PIA Press Release
2007/10/14

AFP making headway in housing, scholarship programs for kins of fallen soldiers

Quezon City (14 October) -- Armed Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the military establishment was making headway in its housing program for its personnel and education of children whose parent-soldiers died in line of duty.

During the 38th foundation anniversary of the Office of the Sergeant Majors and Non-commissioned Officers Day, Esperon vowed to continue pushing for the benefits of the soldiers for their professionalism.

"We are also making a headway in our housing program. It's a little bit slowed down by the requirements of accounting and transparency, but I'm sure that the P1 billion housing fund that was given by the President at the beginning of the year will soon be realized in terms of on-based housing," said Esperon.

Esperon said the funding would pave the way for the relocation of military personnel "who are presently settling illegally in our camp."

The AFP chief also said the money also will be used for the off-based housing of the officers and men.

The government has earmarked portion of some military camps for the housing of the soldiers. The camps include Fort Magsaysay, home of the Army's 7th Infantry Division, Army's Special Operations Command and the Army's Special Forces Regiment.

"In terms of educational benefits, the numbers of our scholars through the efforts of the Educational Benefits Systems Office (EBSO) are also growing. We already have 6,500 scholars. These are the sons and daughters of our fallen comrades or they could be brothers of our fallen comrades who are now enrolled in 189 different schools," said Esperon.

He said he was hoping that Lt. Gen. Pero Cadungog, AFP deputy chief of staff and EBSO superintendent, would exert more efforts to accommodate other beneficiaries of fallen military personnel in the scholarship program.

"I'm sure general Cadungog will push through with even more scholarships through agreements with local schools nationwide. Many schools are joining to give scholarship or discounts to our dependents," the AFP chief also said.

Esperon congratulated the office of the military's sergeant majors and all the enlisted personnel "for their unwavering commitment to take greater part in the affairs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines."

He also acknowledged the sacrifices of the soldiers.

"I take this as a dedication of our soldiers' growth, maturity and professionalism and I laud you for manifesting resolve in foretelling your important role in the Armed Forces of the Philippines through your anniversary theme which is active leadership of the NCO (non-commissioned officer) for unity, stability and professionalism among the soldiers," he said.

Esperon said the accomplishments of the AFP would not be possible without the ordinary soldiers, the military's backbone.

The military has about 120,000 personnel, a big percentage of which are ordinary soldiers.

"The Armed Forces of the Philippines recognizes that you sacrificed a lot to do your job...Let me then take this opportunity to thank you for making possible our accomplishments... Your contributions taken altogether makes the accomplishment as deep as how much we have accomplished at this time," Esperon also said. (PNA) [top]

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