Kin of SAF 44 troopers still waiting for full financial assistance from gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — The financial assistance for families of the fallen 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers who were killed in the 2015 Mamasapano clash has yet to be given in full by government, a relative of one of the slain troopers has revealed.
According to Helen Ramacula, mother of the late PO2 Rodel Ramacula, although she appreciates the government’s assistance to the relatives of the SAF 44 troopers, P87,000 of the promised P300,000 promised financial aid remains to be released by government.
“Oo naman,” Ramacula said in response to questions on whether the government is helping them. “Kaso ‘yong sinasabi nilang pangkabuhayan na apat na taon na hindi pa rin, ‘yong second grant namin hindi pa naibi-bigay.”
“Yung first grant pa lang. Mga P300,000 yata ‘yon (lahat), mga 70 percent pa lang ang nabibigay, ‘yong 30 percent hindi pa,” she added.
Ramacula said the financial assistance was given during the previous administration. She also said that families of the fallen SAF troopers have yet to inform concerned officials of their predicament.
She also clarified that families of the fallen troopers are dealing with local Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) offices and not with the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the SAF regarding delays on the release of the financial assistance.
“Hindi pa po namin alam eh. Hindi pa po namin na-itanong ‘yan (We don’t know why there is a delay, we have not asked that yet),” she explained.
“Dapat nandoon na kasi sabi nila once maipasa ‘yong requirements nandyan na eh […] Hindi ang SAF, sa DSWD ‘yan eh (It’s not the SAF we’re talking to. It is the DSWD),” she added.
Despite the delays, Ramacula said she is still hopeful they will receive the promised financial assistance in full.
“Sila na ang bahala n’yan, sila naman ang may hawak eh. Nag-aantay lang naman kami kung kailan nila ibibigay, mahirap naman ‘yong sabihin pa namin. Umaasa pa talaga kami, kasi meron naman kaming mga papel,” she noted.
(It is up to the officials, they are in charge of that. We are just waiting for the time they can give it, it is hard for us to ask. We’re still hoping we can receive the aid, because we have sufficient documents.)
The 44 SAF members were killed in an encounter on January 25, 2015 in Mamasapano, Maguinadanao as they were serving arrest warrants for Malaysian bomb maker Zufkili Abdhir alias Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman.
During the encounter, the 44 police commandos were killed by rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the splinter group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and various private armed groups.
Marwan was killed in the operation but Usman escaped. Usman was later killed in another operation in May 2015.
Following the Mamasapano operation, top government and police officials were questioned, including former President Benigno Aquino and former PNP chief Alan Purisima.
Purisima and former SAF director Getulio Napeñas were later faced charges for usurpation of authority. /muf
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