Gov’t not remiss on assistance to SAF families, says Palace official

By on April 16, 2016


President Benigno S. Aquino III with families of the fallen SAF 44.. (Photo by Gil Nartea / Malacañang Photo Bureau)
FILE PHOTO: President Benigno S. Aquino III with families of the fallen SAF 44. (Photo by Gil Nartea / Malacañang Photo Bureau)

MANILA—The government is not remiss in extending assistance to the families of the 44 Special Action Forces (SAF) soldiers who were killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last year, a Palace official said on Saturday.

Reports said that families of soldiers from Baguio told Senator Bongbong Marcos that they have yet to receive any help from the government until now.

“Alam ninyo po, that would be between Senator Marcos at kung sino man ang nakausap niya. We stand by the assistance and the reports of assistance that have been extended,” said Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office during a radio interview over Radyo ng Bayan.

“We believe that the majority, if not all the families, would know what the government has done for them and it has been done sincerely and with full good faith, and with the highest degree of concern for their needs. Nakakalungkot na naghahanap ng paraan si Senator Marcos na ipulitika ang trahedyang ito,” Quezon added.

The Palace official also denied reports that beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) would be slapped with a P500-cut on their monthly stipend if they fail to join the “unity walk” in support of Liberal Party (LP) bets Mar Roxas II and Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo last Friday at the Luneta Park.

“Alam ninyo po, nakakalungkot ang ganoong black propaganda. Lalong lalo na dahil talagang maingat ang pamahalaan na ang kapakanan ng mga benepisyaryo ang talagang hinahabol dito at hindi ‘yung pulitika,” Quezon said.

“Alam naman natin na nagsimula sa kampo lalo na ng mga militante ang paninira dito dahil siyempre alam nila na mababawasan ang suporta — hindi lamang ng mga militante, kung ‘di ng mga kaalyado sa New People’s Army — ang mga repormang ito,” he added.

“Kaya hahanap sila ng kahit anong paraan, upang siraan ang proyektong ito at magkalat ng duda tungkol dito ngunit may kumpiyansa kami na mismo ang mga pamilya, ang mga benepisyaryo ay hindi magpapagamit sa politika,” Quezon further said.

The Palace official also urged those who were reportedly threatened to inform Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman or write to President Aquino.

“Isumbong kay Dinky dahil si Dinky ang numero unong hindi papayag na mangyari ito. Kung gusto pa nila ng additional assurance, magsulat sila sa Pangulo dahil siya mismo ang hindi papayag na gawin ang mga ganoon sa mga benepisyaryo na takutin sila o lokohin o abusuhin ang kanilang tiwala sa ano mang paraan,” said Quezon.

“Wag natin kalimutan na people empowerment ang layunin ng 4Ps program. Kaya naman ng mga benepisyaryo natin na panindigan ang sarili nilang pag-iisip at ipaglaban ang programang naghahatid ng napakaraming mga benepisyo sa kanila,” the Palace official said.

Around 4.6 million households are beneficiaries of the Aquino administration’s anti-poverty program.