THE Philippine Army has released more than P3 million to be given personally to the bereaved families of the 18 soldiers killed during an encounter with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan province over the weekend.
“The SFA [Special Financial Assistance] of the Army is computed based on their [18 soldiers] individual monthly earnings. This is an immediate monetary assistance which will be given to a soldier who [is]killed or [dies]in line of duty,” Col. Benjamin Hao, Army spokesman, said on Tuesday.
He disclosed that based on the service records of the 18 soldiers, the family of the late 1st Lt. Remigio B. Lecenia, an Army officer killed in the clash, will receive P 282,303.95, while the family of late Private First Class Done Mark Gil A. Saldivar, the most junior personnel, will receive P145,074.10.
Other assistance to be received by the families of the slain soldiers includes P50,000 cash from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Mutual Benefits Association Inc. (AFPMBAI); P100,000 cash from the Philippine Army Finance Center Producers Integrated Cooperative (PAFCPIC); P80,000 funeral services support; and scholarship grants to their children.
At the same time, the Army Dragon Boat Team, also known as the Army Dragon Warriors, offered their four golds and a silver medal they bagged during the recent 10th International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) World Club Crew Championships to the 18 dead soldiers.
“We are dedicating our win to our fellow soldiers who offered the ultimate sacrifice in Basilan,” said Staff Sgt. Usman Anterola, team captain of the Philippine Army Dragon Boat Team, Mighty Sports.
Lt. Gen. Eduardo Ano, Army commander, commended the team for proving once again that Army soldier-athletes are world-class.
“The whole country is very proud of you, but most especially the Philippine Army. Although we have an ongoing battle in Basilan, your win in Australia will bring up the morale of our troops. Congratulations from the bottom of our hearts. Keep up the good work,” he said.
The team, composed of 20 members, won the gold medal in the 2,000-meter Men’s Small Boat, 500-meter Mixed Small Boat, 200-meter Mixed Small Boat and 200-meter Men’s Small Boat.
It bagged the silver medal in the 500-meter Men’s Small Boat.
The Philippine Army fielded female soldier-athletes to participate in mixed events in this year’s world championships.
Meanwhile, Hao said the Army will also give full military honors especially funeral honors, vigil, arrival and departure honors to the slain soldiers.
“Appropriate military honors are the least the Army can do for the men who fought gallantly for the country,” he added.