By Bethanie Harriman – EM TV News, Lae
Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, commissioned 28 Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) Cadet Officers graduating today at Lae’s Igam Papua New Guinea Defense Academy’s second defence force commissioning.
During his speech, the Prime Minister vowed to improve the state of the PNGDF’s retirement benefits, housing scheme and ensure the growth of the force.
“I give you my commitment today that your government will restore the pride of the PNG Defence Force.
“We want to see the realisation of the defence force retirement benefits. The benefits review and new act passed by our parliament.
“We will make sure that when you retire you will be looked after,” he said.
Prime Minister O’Neill blamed successive governments for the ailing state of the PNGDF and says it’s not going to be a quick fix.
“We know that governments have not always taken care of our disciplined forces. We know that government ignored your needs, allowing benefits and living conditions to degrade into such terrible states that we no longer had a disciplined force that we were proud of,” the PM added.
O’Neill stated that the renovation of PNGDF housing across the country would be taking place in an effort to restore pride.
“At barracks around the country we are rebuilding housing, we are rebuilding offices and we are restoring working conditions and restoring pride.”
Papua New Guinea will need high-level military participation when the country host the FIFA Women’s Under 20 World Cup in 2016, Rugby League World Cup in 2017, and the APEC Summit in 2018.