25 January 2017

President Duterte open to honoring all SAF 44 with Medal of Valor

President Rodrigo Duterte said he is open to giving Medal of Valor for all the 44 SAF commandos who perished in Mamasapano encounter almost two years ago as their relatives clamor for such recognition.

Speaking before the families of the SAF44 in Malacanan on Tuesday, January 24, the President said that he would direct PNP chief Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa to make an assessment based on previous investigations if the SAF commandos could be given the highest military honor.

Only two SAF commandos were given such award during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.

“So I am asking Dela Rosa and you guys, Lito, study the matter very carefully and look that up. You know, if it’s sauce for the gander, it’s also sauce for the goose,” the President said.

“Walang pinipili. Patay kung patay. So look into it, I’m directing you now and give me the result within, probably at the end of the month. And if you think as a soldier that the 44 deserve the Valor, then recommend it and I would give it to them. All of the soldiers, the 44,” he added.

Dela Rosa should just look at the records and need not do another investigation since there are previous inquiries done after the Mamasapano incident, he said.

At the same time, the President said he would create a commission composed of seven, similar to the Agrava Commission that investigated the assassination of the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

“I will appoint men of integrity and honor and kung tanggapin nila, then I will choose mostly the justices of the Supreme Court, maybe a few from the civilian sector, maybe a lawyer,” the President said.

During the dialogue with the President, the families said they were still seeking justice, two years after the bloody Mamasapano encounter.

They were asking the government to fulfill its promises such as the grant of livelihood, scholarships for the SAF commandos children, the award of Medal of Valor and declaration for a national commemoration day for the gallant police troopers.

The President said he would approve having a day of remembering the gallantry of the SAF 44.

There were 10 families from Luzon and Visayas who joined the President during Tuesday’s dialogue. Fourteen families came from Baguio City, and 15 families from Mindanao.###PND

Andanar meets Fil-Am in LA

(Los Angeles, CA) – Filipino-Americans gave an enthusiastic welcome to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar in an open forum at the Philippine Consular Office in Los Angeles, California yesterday, January 23 (Los Angeles Time).

Andanar discussed various current issues in the Philippines before the Filipino-American community.

On the war against drugs, Andanar said that President Rodrigo Duterte is serious in suppressing the huge problem of illegal drugs in the  Philippines.

“The international community barely noticed the Philippines until President Duterte declared war on illegal drugs,” Andanar pointed out. He said the move to destroy the apparatus would be relentless and sustained until the last protector and pusher are put in jail or finally stopped. “Hindi po siya nagbibiro,” Andanar said.

The Presidential Communications Chief said the Duterte administration is doing its share to solve the drug menace in the country: “It’s a comprehensive answer, a comprehensive solution to solve the drug addiction problem of our country, whether it is shabu or marijuana, cocaine, heroin. And we do have a comprehensive solution to these problems with the Department of Health in the forefront.” 

Andanar assured his audience that there is nothing to worry about in Philippine-US relations, as US President Donald Trump and President Duterte share a few commonalities in their policies in their respective countries.

“The fact that the President sent Secretary Jun Esperon and myself speaks volumes about  President Duterte’s trust and confidence in President Trump,” Andanar reiterated.

He told his audience that all concerns of the Filipino-American community in the United States will reach President Duterte.

The forum, moderated by Consul-General Adelio Angelito Cruz, is the initiative of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles.###Maro-Content

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella on the death of Jakatia Pawa
It is with sadness that we confirm the execution of Jakatia Pawa this afternoon (Philippine Time).

The Philippine government has provided the late Pawa all the assistance necessary to ensure all her legal rights are respected and all legal procedures are followed.

Government likewise exerted all efforts to preserve her life, including diplomatic means and appeals for compassion. Execution, however, could no longer be forestalled under Kuwaiti laws.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is now closely coordinating with Ms. Pawa’s family and continues to facilitate assistance.

We pray for her and her bereaved family.