Unmarried ‘Oplan Exodus’ victims’ kin cry for fairness | Inquirer News
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Unmarried ‘Oplan Exodus’ victims’ kin cry for fairness

/ 12:41 AM March 01, 2015

Some families of the 44 police commandos who were killed in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao province, are appealing for fairness in the release of the policemen’s death benefits, especially to relatives of those who were single.

Marilyn Tayrus, sister of slain Insp. Rennie Tayrus, told the Inquirer that her family had brought up this subject to President Benigno Aquino III during a meeting in Camp Crame more than a week ago, “but he gave no assurance.”

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Dismay

Rico Erana, father of Senior Insp. John Gary Erana, said he also made the same appeal but was dismayed that Mr. Aquino’s only response was to refer the matter to the National Police Commission.

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The Integrated National Police Professionalization Law of 1977 provides that only surviving spouses or legitimate children of slain policemen are entitled to five-year monthly pensions equivalent to 80 percent of the slain policeman’s monthly salary.

Families of the slain policemen who were single are entitled to a pension equivalent to only half of the slain policeman’s basic salary and a gratuity pay equivalent to a year of salaries.

“The President said he would propose amendments to the law, but it would still be elevated to Congress,” Rico said.

Breadwinners

“Those who died but were still unmarried were their families’ breadwinners,” he said.

“They supported their parents and siblings. They came from poor families. We just hope there’s equal treatment, whether one was married or not, when it comes to benefits,” Rico added.

At least 15 of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos killed in Mamasapano were unmarried.

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“My brother’s world revolved around our mother, and depriving her equal benefits would mean killing my brother’s dream for her,” Marilyn said.

She added that her brother suffered and died like the rest of the commandos in Mamasapano. Tayrus was an officer of the 84th Special Action Company Seaborne.

Dependents

Before his death, Tayrus listed his mother Trinidad, two nieces and a nephew as primary dependents.

“Our mother is maintaining a small sari-sari store that was put up by Ren-Ren (Tayrus),” Marilyn said, adding that her brother also “promised to help my sister send her children to school.”

“My brother remained single at 28 years old because he wanted to help my mother. Since he was killed serving our country, the President, out of compassion and humanitarian reasons, should do something to lighten the agony of my mother,” said Rosalie, another sister of Tayrus.

Tayrus was the only male of nine siblings and was the family’s breadwinner after the death of their father five years ago.

“How can the President call our sons heroes when he hardly lifted a finger to give the full benefits due them?” Rico said.

Can’t wait for Congress

The young Erana, of the 55th Special Action Company, listed his father Rico, his mother Victoria and his sister Ziltha Lea as his primary dependents.

Rico said he expected Mr. Aquino to do something fast rather than pass on the matter to Congress for an amendment of the law, which would surely take time.

Initially, each family of the 44 slain SAF commandos was able to receive P250,000.

Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, who exercises supervision over the Philippine National Police, accompanied Mr. Aquino during the conversations with families of the slain commandos.

Roxas was kept out of the loop of “Oplan Exodus,” the operation to get international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” but admitted to being informed about it as the operation unfolded.

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TAGS: Death Benefits, Maguindanao, Mamasapano, Oplan Exodus, SAF, SAF 44, single, Special Action Force, unmarried
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