PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has assured the troops and other law enforcement agencies that their salaries will be increased within this year.

Duterte made this assurance as he addressed Thursday evening the soldiers and policemen at the gymnasium of Camp Navarro that houses the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) headquarters in Zamboanga City.

Aside from soldiers and policemen, Duterte said that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will also receive salary increase.

However, Duterte said that the salary increase will be done gradually since there is no sufficient fund citing he assumed the presidency midstream.

Duterte, accompanied by top military officials to included Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, arrived in this city around one p.m. from Manila.

The President and party flew to the headquarters of the Army’s 104th Infantry Brigade in Isabela City, Basilan to get first hand information on the ongoing offensive against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in that province.

Intelligence report showed that nine Abu Sayyaf bandits, who are followers if Isnilon Hapilon and Furuji Indama, were killed while 13 wounded when the troops pounded them with artillery.

The President also visited the soldiers at Camp Navarro General Hospital that were wounded in the fight against the bandits.