May 13, 2011:
The Philippines has greatly increased combat pay for its soldiers. Retroactive to the first of this year, monthly combat pay goes from $5.60 to $11.66. All troops in a designated combat zone (mostly in the Moslem south) get this bonus. For most soldiers, this increases monthly pay about three percent.
Also added is daily combat incentive pay for each day actually spent fighting or in imminent contact with the enemy (like patrolling dangerous areas). For soldiers spending most of their time in combat, it can increase their monthly pay by 20 percent.
The government had not increased monthly combat pay since the 1980s. The daily combat pay was approved four years ago, but never actually implemented. There plenty of Filipino troops eligible for these bonuses. For example, several thousand soldiers and marines have been in constant combat for years in the south, fighting Islamic separatists (MILF) and terrorists (Abu Sayyaf).
Morale has suffered with increasing revelations of corruptions by senior officers. The troops are under constant pressure to keep it clean, while senior NCOs and officers steal money and engage in other corrupt practices. This behavior has been under increasing attack in the last year, and that has boosted morale, as will the new combat bonus cash.