Aid pours in for kin of soldiers, cops killed in Marawi
LAOAG CITY—Army corporal, Elmer Macliing Anno, was looking forward to a visit to Galimuyod town in Ilocos Sur province to see his daughter, Charm Emerald.
But he was sent on a mission to Marawi City on May 23 and was killed in a battle with terrorists. Anno was one of the first casualties when government troops, who were sent to capture Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, ended up fighting members of the Maute group. This led to the bloody siege that prompted President Duterte to declare martial law over Mindanao.
When Charm Emerald celebrated her first birthday on May 27, Anno had died from a bullet wound from Maute fighters. He was buried on June 8.
On June 17, Anno’s widow, Carmi, and her family were invited to this city to receive a P50,000-donation from the Air Materiel Wing Savings and Loan Association Inc. (AMWSLAI) of the Philippine Air Force and from Hannah’s Beach Resort and Convention Center.
“He was a very thoughtful husband and father,” Carmi said. “Whenever he had time, especially when there were family gatherings, he would send a text message or make a call just to greet us. He asked us to buy our daughter a new dress for her first birthday.”
Anno’s father, Teodoro, and his younger sister accompanied Carmi to Laoag. “He was too young to die but I’m proud of my son. He’s a hero as he offered his life for our country,” Teodoro said.
He said Anno dreamed of becoming a doctor but he joined the Army instead.
Carmi said she was still in shock but added that she had to remain strong for their daughter.
“I hope the battle would soon end so no more lives are needlessly lost,” she said.
“When a soldier goes to war, one foot is already in the grave. He is lucky if he returns home alive. That is why we should respect and do not take them for granted, particularly in times of war,” said retired Air Force Col. Ricardo Nolasco Jr., AMWSLAI chair and president.
Anno is the sixth beneficiary of cash donations from AMWSLAI and Hannah’s Resort. The families of the slain soldiers were also given P500,000 each as education assistance.
As part of AMWSLAI’s mandate, a general fund has been allocated for the college scholarship of soldiers’ children. Since the program was launched, about 200 beneficiaries had graduated from college, Nolasco said.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has also asked other government agencies to help employ qualified dependents of soldiers and policemen killed or wounded in operations against terrorists in Marawi.
DILG officer in charge Catalino Cuy said his department was preparing to accommodate as many of the 261 beneficiaries as possible.
Of this number, 196 are dependents of Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel while 65 are from the Philippine National Police.
“We are doing the rounds to assist the families … and we need all the help that we can get. This is the least that we can do to the families of our heroes,” Cuy said.
Some P28.2 million will be needed to fund the salaries of 261 beneficiaries for six months at P18,000 monthly for each dependent, he said.
Last month the DILG asked for a subsidy of P3.5 million from the Department of Budget Management to pay for the salary of 21 dependents that the agency employed.
The Department of Trade and Industry has pledged to enlist small and medium enterprises in hiring some of the spouses and widows of soldiers and policemen while the Department of Labor and Employment has offered employment programs, through the Public Employment Service Office or the government internship program, to help dependents get jobs.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas provides financial literacy courses to the dependents and has expressed willingness to employ some of them as security personnel provided they are graduates of four-year college courses or are licensed professionals. —REPORTS FROM LEILANIE ADRIANO AND JEANNETTE I. ANDRADE
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.