MANILA — While no amount of financial consideration can alleviate the death of a loved one, government efforts to aid relatives and family members of the Special Action Force (SAF)’s “Fallen 44” is now slowly gaining ground.
Although still stricken with grief, 39-year-old Rey Kibete, brother of PO3 Junrel Kibete, one of the SAF men killed in the successful effort to neutralize Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25, the eldest brother of the deceased warrior , seemed so far content with the assistance being given by the government.
In an interview with PNA last Wednesday in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan, Kibete also said that President Benigno S. Aquino III, during their Jan. 30 meeting at SAF headquarters, Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, also pledged to give scholarships to Junrel’s three children, all girls, aside from promising to help rebuild the family’s dilapidated home.
The financial aid promised to the family is only awaiting the submission of some important papers and identification cards, he added.
The Chief Executive was present at SAF headquarters for the necrological ceremonies for the “Fallen 44”.
Kibete also said that he was comforted by President Aquino’s pledged to give justice to his brother’s death and 43 other SAF men but said that he was unable to say it at that time.
The Kibetes’ meeting with the President lasted for 30 minutes, Rey recounted.
At that time,Aquino chatted with Junrel’s children and asked them what their plans in life are, once they grew up.
The eldest, Rey recounted, expressed hopes to be a cruise liner chef, the second wanted to be an engineer while the third hopes to a teacher.
Rey also recounted that prior to Junrel’s fateful mission to Maguindanao, the latter had a chance to chat with a Marine, who happens to be their cousin, and requested for an extra ammunition pouch.
At the same time, Junrel requested him to get his clothes and other possessions at his Taguig City boarding house for safekeeping.
The former also promised to bond with brother and Marine cousin once their mission is successfully completed.
The National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) earlier announced that all benefits for the “Fallen 44” will be immediately release
Interior Secretary and concurrent NAPOLCOM chair Manuel “Mar” Roxas II said the agency shall facilitate the grant of death benefits to the families of the slain police officers which include gratuity equivalent to one year salary, monthly pension for five years equivalent to 80 percent of the decedent’s basic monthly pay, and burial expenses equivalent to three months basic salary.
The families of the 44 slain SAF members shall likewise receive additional benefit in the form of scholarship grant for the education of their children from elementary to college.
“As we have always done in the past, we assure the families of the slain SAF men that they shall receive said benefits the soonest possible time,” Roxas said.
Meanwhile, NAPOLCOM vice-chairman Eduardo U. Escueta said that the Commission shall also grant medical and hospitalization benefits to the other SAF members who were wounded during the Mamasapano incident.
Escueta explained that members of the PNP and their beneficiaries are expressly granted certain welfare benefits under the provisions of Republic Act No. 6963 entitled “An Act Granting Special Financial Assistance and Benefits to the Family or Beneficiary of any Police or Military Personnel or Fireman Killed or Permanently Incapacitated while in the Performance of his Duty or By Reason of His Office or Position and for Other Purposes.”
“These benefits are administered by the NAPOLCOM pursuant to the provisions of Sections 73 and 76 of Republic Act No. 6975 or the PNP Law,” Escueta said.