Senator Chiz Escudero seeks to create a P20-billion trust fund for active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) who are either killed or wounded in the line of duty.
“Given the sad state of our military and police in terms of compensation and benefits with regard to their sworn duty to protect and secure the State, preserve and maintain peace and order, it is but imperative that we make comprehensive and institutional all reasonable assistance that may be accorded them by the State,” Escudero said.
Senate Bill No. 1491, or the Comprehensive Social Benefit Program of the Government, envisions the institutionalization of the trust fund, which will be established and developed by the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
According to the senator, this will cover the necessities and basic needs of the families and dependents of soldiers, policemen, policewomen who are killed or wounded in legitimate operations sanctioned by the government.
“The officers, men and women of the AFP and the PNP deserve nothing less than a reasonable and tangible recognition of their dedication and commitment to the country, especially their families who, when they are killed or wounded in action or operation, are somewhat left hollow both emotionally, spiritually and financially,” the veteran lawmaker said.
The P20 billion, which will be earmarked for the trust fund, will be used to finance five types of assistance: full scholarship, financial, shelter, health and medical care, and cost of living.
The trust fund will be implemented and managed by a board composed of the Office of the President, the DILG, the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Finance, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Commission on Higher Education, the AFP and the PNP.
According to the Escudero, who chairs the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, the biggest chunk of the trust fund will go to the education of the children of military and police officers killed in action
He said children of a soldier or police officer killed while in the performance of duty will be given priority in any applicable law providing free tertiary education.
“The gallantry, bravery and heroism in making the ultimate sacrifice for the flag, freedom and democracy can never be understated. We should honor them according to what they truly deserve,” Escudero said.