Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara on Sunday called on his colleagues to speed up the passage of two measures that seek to provide additional assistance and benefits to uniformed personnel and their families.
Angara was referring to Senate Bill 1462 or the Uniformed and Law Enforcement Personnel Special Financial Assistance Act and SB 1463 or the Uniformed and Law Enforcement Personnel Educational Assistance Act.
“Upgrading the assistance and benefits of our uniformed personnel is long overdue. I call on our colleagues to prioritize the passage of such bills,” said Angara, one of the authors of the measures.
The senator issued the call in the wake of the continuous clashes between government forces and members of the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City.
Since May 23 when the Maute Group took hold of several areas in Marawi, 58 government troops have been killed – 40 from the Philippine Army, 15 from the Philippine Marines, and three from the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Fierce clashes on Friday left 14 Marines dead.
“Our brave soldiers need all the support they can get. It’s unfortunate that this conflict has cost the lives of many of our troops. We condole with their families,” Angara said.
Under SB 1462, a special financial assistance equivalent to a personnel’s six months salary, including allowances and bonuses, will be provided to the families and beneficiaries of any member of the Philippine PNP or the Armed Forces of the Philippines who is killed or permanently incapacitated in the line of duty.
The bill also gives priority to surviving spouses or designated beneficiaries in employment in government agencies and offices where their qualifications are fitted.
Meanwhile, SB 1463 provides that the children of fallen troopers will automatically get full scholarship from kindergarten to college. The scholarship will cover tuition and miscellaneous fees, allowance for books and school supplies, food and transportation.
The bill also calls for the creation of a Dependents Welfare Office to expedite the grant of special financial assistance and benefits.
The proposed legislation will also cover uniformed personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Corrections.
“Such special assistance befits the selfless service of our fallen heroes who have offered their lives to preserve peace, defend the dignity of the country, and ensure the safety of all Filipinos,” Angara said.