5 cops slain in Zamboanga siege get posthumous promotion
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine National Police (PNP) conferred on Monday posthumous recognition on five policemen killed during the joint military and police operation against Moro rebels in Zamboanga City last month.
Calling them “police heroes,” PNP Director General Alan Purisima led the ceremony honoring the fallen policemen at the Bantayog ng Bayaning Pulis at Camp Crame in Quezon City, the main PNP camp.
In recognition of their bravery in performing their sworn duty, Purisima presented posthumous promotions to Insp. Jay Oy-Oyan, PO3 Murphy Abbilani and PO2s Lawin Salisa, Enrique Afable III and Christopher Hernaez.
Oy-oyan and Abbilani were members of the Zamboanga City police while Salisa, Afable and Hernaez belonged to the Special Action Force (SAF), the PNP’s elite anti-insurgency unit.
The five died during fierce gun battles between government forces and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members who attacked Zamboanga and occupied five barangays (villages) on Sept. 9.
“They deserve this honor as they join the list of our police heroes who laid down their lives for the Philippines,” Purisima told reporters after the ceremony.
“By making the ultimate sacrifice, they showed their commitment and the real character of PNP personnel who are always ready to serve and protect the people,” he added.
In addition to posthumous promotion to the next rank, the PNP chief handed death benefits amounting to between P1.5 million and P2 million to the families of the slain officers.
Senior Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP spokesman, said the families will also receive P15,000 monthly lifetime pensions from the PNP and about the same amount from the National Police Commission for five years.
“Orphaned children of the deceased are also entitled to PNP educational benefits,” said Sindac, adding that they would also receive insurance benefits from the Public Safety Mutual Benefit Fund Inc., the PNP’s insurance provider.
Although the Zamboanga siege lasted more than 20 days, Purisima noted that the PNP suffered minimal casualties in the military-led operation against the MNLF faction that carried out the attack.
“The morale of our policemen is high because we were able to accomplish many things in Zamboanga with minimum casualties,” he said.
SAF Director Carmelo Valmoria, meanwhile, said the battle of Zamboanga showed the police unit’s ability to carry out night offensives and the importance of using well-trained snipers in close-quarters encounters.
“We also realized the importance of having night-vision goggles and other equipment to improve our night fighting capabilities,” Valmoria said.
“We can apply the experience of our snipers to fight criminal elements in urban settings,” he added.
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