Educational assistance sa dependents ng mga sundalong nasawi sa Basilan, tiniyak ng AFP

admin   •   November 5, 2014   •   3942

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (PHOTOVILLE International)

MANILA, Philippines – Sasagutin ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ang pag-aaral ng mga dependent o anak at kapatid ng mga sundalong nasawi sa pakikipagsagupa sa mga rebelde sa Basilan noong Linggo.

Ayon kay Lieutenant Colonel Danilo Estrañero, acting chief at general manager ng AFP Educational Benefit System Office (AFP-EBSO), makatatanggap ng educational assistance ang mga kapatid ni 2nd Lt. Jun Corpuz sa ilalim ng mga programa ng AFP.

Isa si Corpuz sa anim na sundalong nasawi sa pag-atake ng Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sa Sumisip, Basilan.

Sinabi ni Estrañero na qualified ang tatlong kapatid ni Corpuz na maka-avail ng nasabing scholarship program.

“Sa tatlo nyang kapatid, si Kristy ay incoming 3rd year college, pansamantalang intern sa munisipyo ng Bacnotan sa La Union. si Christian ay kasalukuyang 1st year college, ang kinukuha nya ay BS Agricultural Engineering sa Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, so ang isa pa ay si Coleen na grade 4,” pahayag nito.

“Ang support natin, i-emphasize ko lang, ay simula ‘pag ma-approve sila hanggang sa makatapos sila ng college. Ibig sabihin, assured po sila until graduation,” dagdag pa ni Estrañero.

Ayon sa opisyal, batay sa Presidential Decree 577, qualified ang mga anak ng mga may-asawang sundalo, gayundin ang mga kapatid ng mga binata’t dalagang sundalo sa mga scholarship program mula elementary hanggang college.

Katuwang ng AFP ang Department of National Defense (DND), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), at Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges sa pagbibigay ng libreng tuition fee at allowance sa mga scholar.

Bukod dito, inihayag ni Estrañero na marami pa ang mga scholarship program ng AFP para sa mga qualified dependent.

“Meron po tayong law-mandated programs, nakasaad sa batas, isa rito ay ang RA 6963. In terms of educational benefits, nagbibigay support sa dependents ng ating combat casualties, pero ang kasama lang po rito ay ang mga anak.”

“Yung isa ring program ay yung RA 9049, para sa mga medal of valor awardees. Special honor and privileges dahil ito ang pinakamataas na award para sa heroism and bravery.”

Gayunpaman, sinabi ni Estrañero na ang commitment ng AFP ay ang masiguro na walang sundalong maghihirap, lalo na ang mga naiwan nitong mahal sa buhay.

Batay sa datos ng AFP-EBSO, mayroon ng 250 partner schools ang AFP na tumutulong na mapagtapos ng pagaaral ang nasa 4,500 scholars at naiwang anak ng mga nasawing sundalo sa labanan. (Bianca Dava / Ruth Navales, UNTV News)

Pangilinan seeks Senate probe on fatal shooting of 4 soldiers in Jolo

Robie de Guzman   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Pangilinan is calling for an inquiry into the killing of four soldiers by local policemen in Jolo, Sulu.

“Nakakabahala ang balitang ito. Ngayon pa lang na hindi pa batas ang anti-terror bill, may nangyayari nang ganito. Ano na lang ang laban ng ordinaryong tao?” Pangilinan said in a statement on Wednesday.

On Monday afternoon, June 29, four members of the Philippine Army were fatally shot by police officers some meters away from the Jolo police station.

The Army said the four soldiers were on an official mission and were tracking suspected suicide bombers  when they were accosted by the local police.

The soldiers, who had been wearing plain clothes, were said to have introduced themselves to the policemen. The cops allegedly told them to go with them to a nearby police station for identity verification.

Initial police report said that as their team and Army officers approached the police station, the soldiers’ vehicle allegedly sped off, prompting a car chase.

Police said they only defended themselves when the soldiers opened fire.

The Army disputed this claim, saying the soldiers did not try to escape and never fired a single shot towards police officers based on eye-witness accounts of two civilians and of a motorcycle-riding soldier who was part of the operation trailing the soldiers’ vehicle.

Pangilinan said the police and military have different versions of what happened, and an “independent and impartial” Senate probe will “help bring out the truth.”

“This incident is disturbing because it appears that the police are quick in pulling the trigger without careful judgment. If they can do this to their fellow uniformed men, how much more to the ordinary civilians who are unarmed and defenseless?” the senator said.

Nevertheless, Pangilinan called on military and police ground commanders to “rein in their men to preserve peace and avert escalation of tension between the armed personnel.”

“We should be going after the common enemy — terrorists, drug lords, armed groups, and in this time of the pandemic, COVID — not against each other,” Pangilinan said.

The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines earlier said they have requested the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an impartial probe into the incident.

The nine policemen involved in the incident, as well as the chief of Jolo police station have also been ordered relieved from their posts pending investigation.

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DND: Parañaque raid that killed alleged ASG members highlights need for tougher anti-terror law

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of National Defense (DND) on Friday said that the recent joint police and military operation in Parañaque City, which led to the killing of suspected Abu Sayyaf members, highlights the need for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, “the presence of these terrorists in the NCR highlights the need for us to enhance our measures against those who intend to bring harm to our people.”

“A law such as the Anti-Terrorism Bill of 2020 will give our law enforcers greater capacity to stop these terrorists and prevent them from wreaking havoc in our communities,” he added.

Lorenzana also commended the police and the military for the “successful” law enforcement.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), meanwhile, said the incident calls for an urgent decision of the President.

“This development all the more highlights the need for the President and Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Duterte to expedite the signing and immediate implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Bill,” AFP chief-of-staff General Felimon Santos, Jr. said in a statement.

He said terrorism really poses great threat to public security and places general welfare at stake.

“We should protect and defend from terrorists— without further delay than it had already been —fellow Filipinos from wanton death or destruction of their property,” he said.

Santos also said that the recent operation against the alleged members of Abu Sayyaf group only shows that a pandemic could not deter terror groups from committing lawless acts.

“The unwanted presence of terrorist ASG members in Metro Manila and their timely neutralization in Parañaque proves that terrorist groups know no pandemic or people’s suffering in the Philippines or elsewhere in the world,” he said.

“Not even COVID-19 could deter or prevent the terrorists ASG and their cohorts from planning and looking for the opportune time to strike and kill or maim innocent civilians and to destroy massively government infrastructure and private property,” he added.

The Philippine National Police earlier reported that four suspected ASG members were killed in an operation jointly conducted by police and military forces in Barangay Don Bosco, Parañaque City on past Friday midnight.

The government security forces were about to serve a search warrant issued by the Parañaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 258 when they were engaged by the suspects in a firefight.

The clash eventually resulted in the killing of the suspects, identified as Bensaudi Sali alias “Boy,” his wife Merhama Abdul Sawari alias “Mheng,” Rasin Hussin alias “Boscon,” and Jamal Kalliming alias “Pando.”

The police and military said the operation stemmed from an information they received about the presence of the group tagged as members of Daulah Islamiyah and acting as a financial conduit of Daesh-East Asia, in Parañaque City.

Authorities recovered from the encounter site various handguns, wires, suspected explosive devices, and ISIS flags.

Nothing in anti-terrorism bill adds any new power to military, AFP says

Robie de Guzman   •   June 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday welcomed the Congress’ move to immediately pass the controversial anti-terrorism bill amid growing opposition from various rights groups.

In a statement, AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said the military is aware of the issues being raised on the proposed measure but based on reports, there is nothing in the bill that adds “any new power” to the military.

“…From what has been reported to me so far is that nothing in the Enrolled Bill to be sent to the President for his consideration adds any new power to the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he said.

He also said that various issues on the proposal were “all considered in the thorough and deliberate discussions in Congress.”

“We reserve further comment until the proposed legislation is signed into law by the President and the IRRs (implementing rules and regulations) are out so we can study the law and the how’s of its implementation,” Arevalo added.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the anti-terrorism bill on second reading with 173 affirmative votes, 31 negative and 29 abstentions.

The Senate passed its version of the bill on third and final reading in February.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier certified the bill as urgent, saying the immediate enactment of the measure is to “address the urgent need to strengthen the law on anti-terrorism in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare.”

The anti-terrorism bill seeks to amend and improve the provisions of the Human Security Act of 2007.

Under the measure, anyone who threatens to commit terrorism, propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall mete out a penalty of 12 years of imprisonment.

It also introduces provisions penalizing those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.

The measure also includes a new section on foreign terrorist fighters to cover Filipino nationals who commit terrorist offenses abroad.

It also aims to provide law enforcers the much-needed tools to protect the people from terrorism threat and, at the same time, safeguard the rights of those accused of the crime.

The Department of National Defense has assured the public that activists and critics of the government will not be considered as terrorists following concerns that the measure will be used to target those who are expressing anti-government sentiments.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government also said that the bill is not anti-human rights as it, in fact, seeks to protect the rights of innocent people from terrorists.

“The Anti-Terrorism Bill aims to eradicate terrorism from our country. The people have nothing to fear from this bill; it is only the terrorists and their supporters who should fear it,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said, adding that this measure is a timely upgrade in the government’s arsenal against all forms of terrorism plaguing the Philippines for so many years.

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