No civilian porters with military since 2013

More than 7,800 civilians employed as porters died in action during military operations from 1988 to 2012, but no new workers have been hired since 2013, Deputy Defence Minister Kyaw Nyunt said.

He provided the information in response to a question from Lower House MP Sai Than Naing during a parliamentary session in Nay Pyi Taw on Thursday. Civilian porters carried out a variety of tasks, including carrying supplies, clearing land other basic labour.

The MP questioned whether the government had any plan to award certificates of honour and assistance for porters who lost their lives or limbs while working alongside service members during military operations.

Kyaw Nyunt quoted records from regional control commands that stated that from fiscal year 1988-89  to fiscal year 2012-13, compensation was paid to all 7,817 civilian porters who died (or their estates) and 1,589 others who were injured.

 "Military regiments and units have to use civilians as daily-wage workers in military operations," the deputy minister said. "And they are entitled to compensation in accord with the existing labour law if they died or were injured while serving in operations."

According to a Defence Council order, military operations porters were to be compensated Ks 450,000 if they died in action and Ks 600,000 if he was injured. He did not respond to the question about certificates of honour.