24 Jan 2016

Financial assistance has been extended to families of SAF 44 troopers
  Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Sunday said that a total of P188,338, 464.99 million has been extended to the families of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers who were killed in the deadly Mamasapano encounter last year.

Coloma said the amount covered assistance from the national government, monthly pension and donation course through the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“The total amount of assistance to SAF 44 families is 188,338,464.99 pesos at ang breakdown nito ay sa tatlong bahagi: unang-una ay government assistance; pangalawa ay ‘yung monthly pension na tinatanggap ng pamilya; at pangatlo ‘yung donasyon na ipinahatid sa kanila sa pamamagitan ng PNP (Philippine National Police),” said Coloma based on the latest report he got from the Presidential Management Staff.

The Palace official said the assistance has three main components: P151,283,115.49 million (national government assistance), P10,180,349.50 (monthly pension) and 26,875,000 (donations).

“So doon sa total amount na P188.3-million, ang government assistance ay 151,283,115.49 pesos at ito ay binubuo ‘nung mandatory lump sum benefits at iba pang assistance na ni-request ng kanilang pamilya. Ito ay mayroong range; nagkakaiba ito dahil doon sa tenure or ‘yung dami ng taon ng pagsisilbi ‘nung mga beneficiaries,” explained Coloma.

“Ibibigay ko lang ang breakdown ng national government assistance na P151.283-million. Ang pinakamalaking bahagi nito ay ang lump sum benefits na due to them from NAPOLCOM (National Police Commission) and PNP. Ang total nito ay P68,338,262. Sumunod ang other assistance… sa livelihood ay P15,746,668; housing P60,800,000; education P48,578,184; at other forms of assistance P1,820,000 kaya ang total ay P151,283,115,” Coloma added.

“At bukod dito ay nagbigay din ang PNP at NAPOLCOM ng monthly pension bukod doon sa lump sum o ang buong amount na naibigay consisting of P151-million na naibigay na, katulad ng aking una nang naipaliwanag, mayroong monthly pension simula April 2015 to January 2016 at ito ay ipagpapatuloy pa sa mga susunod na buwan at ang total ng monthly pension na naipamahagi na ay 10,180,349.50 pesos,” the Palace official further noted.

Coloma said the P26,875,000 million donations came from the Senate, House of Representatives, local government unit of Dasmarinas, Cavite and PNP Special Financial Assistance Fund.

“Bukod doon sa mga lump sum benefits ay malaki din ‘yung for education at ‘yung livelihood at ‘yung housing. So, sana maunawaan ng ating mga mamamayan ang lahat ng mahalagang elemento ng tulong na ipinamahagi at inihatid sa kanilang mga pamilya,” said Coloma.

Coloma said the assistance extended by the government was not limited to the immediate family members of the 44 SAF troopers.

“Ang pangkaraniwan na sakop ng government assistance ayon sa batas ay ang immediate family members ‘nung mga killed in action personnel. Ibig sabihin natin doon sa immediate family members ay spouses, parents or children. Ngunit sa partikular na tinutukoy natin upon the request of the families, ‘nung mga naiwan, nagbigay din tayo ng tulong doon sa umaabot na 261 extended family members. Ang ibig sabihin kasama ‘yung pinsan, kapatid, in-laws at ito ay ipinamahagi ng iba’t ibang government agencies,” said Coloma.

“So hindi tayo nag-confine lamang doon sa immediate family na siyang tinatadhana ng batas dahil nga sa pagnanais na makapagbigay ng tulong sa mga yumaong SAF troopers, pati ang extended family members nila ay binigyan natin ng assistance at ito ay sa mga aspeto ng livelihood, housing, education at iba pang related assistance,” he added.

“Para sa kaalaman ng madla ay bukas at hayag naman ang ating mga datos para maunawaan nila na mula pa noong simula ng ating tinutukoy na usapin ay talagang sinikap ng pamahalaan na maihatid sa mga pamilya ang kinakailangang tulong at ayuda,” Coloma said. PND (jm)

Filipino nation commemorates 83rd birth anniversary of former President Corazon Aquino
The country on Sunday marked the 83rd birth anniversary of former President Corazon Aquino.

“The Filipino nation pays homage today to the memory of President Corazon C. Aquino on the occasion of her 83rd birth anniversary. President Aquino took on the leadership of the movement to restore democracy after the assassination of Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. in 1983 and became president in the aftermath of the triumph of the EDSA People Power revolution following the failed snap elections in February 1986,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a statement read over Radyo ng Bayan.

Coloma said President Corazon C. Aquino “moved decisively to restore and rebuild the democratic institutions that had been dismantled during the regime of the dictatorship since the imposition of martial rule in September 1972”.

“Her steadfast dedication and commitment to democracy was highlighted by the conduct of credible elections and the peaceful handover of power to a new president in June 1992,” said Coloma. PND (jm)

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to arrive on Tuesday for five-day state visit
Japan Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are scheduled to arrive in the Philippines on Tuesday for a five-day state visit.

“President Aquino will lead the Filipino government and people in welcoming Their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan as they commence their visit to the Philippines on Tuesday,” said Communications Secreatary Herminio Coloma Jr. in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan on Sunday.

Coloma said the Japanese Imperial couple’s state visit is a major highlight and fitting start to the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations of the Philippines and Japan.

“The visit of Their Majesties is significant as this year, 2016, is the 60th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Philippines. President Aquino has acknowledged that in Japan and its people “we have found steadfast partners and friends in the truest sense of the word” as concretely manifested by its being the largest contributor of official development assistance to the Philippines,” said Coloma.

“Japan is also one of the leading international advocates of the peace process in Mindanao. Moreover, Japan has provided significant assistance to the Philippines in terms of improving urban transportation and in providing relief to calamity victims,” he added.

Coloma also said the President recalled that when he accompanied his mother, then President Aquino, during her visit to Japan in 1986, Emperor Akihito’s father, the late Emperor Shōwa, even conversed with him and advised him to take care of his parents. He notes that Japan was one of the countries that provided robust support to the Philippines’ newly reclaimed democracy 30 years ago.

During their state visit, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will be taking a side trip to Laguna apart from their scheduled activities in Manila.

It will be Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko’s first official visit to the Philippines since 1962 when they were then the crowned prince and princess of Japan.

The Japanese Imperial couple’s visit to the Philippines is also considered a reciprocal one after President Aquino visited Tokyo last June when he invited Their Majesties to spend some time in Manila. PND (jm)