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PH Senator Cayetano Mourns Death of Seven Filipino Soldiers Killed in Sulu

Recently re-elected Philippine Senator Peter Cayetano mourns deaths of seven Filipino soldiers killed in Sulu; proposes bill institutionalizing assistance to families of soldiers killed in action

“It is the State’s duty to honor the personal and selfless sacrifice of these brave men through the extension of care to the families and relatives that they have left behind.”

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano expressed his sentiment when he went to Fort Bonifacio yesterday to pay his respects to the seven Filipino soldiers killed by members of the insurgent group Abu Sayyaf last Saturday.

Cayetano, in expressing his condolences to the families of the slain and wounded soldiers, said he is set to file a bill in the coming Congress that would extend more benefits to families left behind by soldiers killed in action. He also assured them of his full support to the government’s promise of providing assistance to the dependents of the slain soldiers.

Cayetano said that his proposed bill is a result of his discussions with officials from the Department of Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the past budget hearing regarding added benefits for the long term that would assist families of uniformed personnel killed in action.

The senator said that his proposed legislation will help families cope with problems related to high prices, lack of jobs, and low wages that they will inevitably encounter long after their spouses and/ or parents who were killed in action have departed.

His proposed bill seeks to ensure that beneficiaries of the members of the AFP who are killed in action would continue to receive an amount corresponding to the salary of not less than one rank higher than the gross monthly salary of the deceased uniformed personnel prior to his/her death. In addition, the stipend includes without prejudice such increases that he/she would have been entitled to had he/she been alive until the mandatory age of retirement,” he said.

The senator also said that his proposal also states that the children of the deceased shall be exempted from the payment of tuition and matriculation fees in public schools, state universities and colleges, in any pre-school, baccalaureate or post graduate courses, leading to the degree of Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Bachelor of Laws (L.L.B), Juris Doctor (J.D.), and Bachelor or Science in Nursing (B.S.N), or allied and similar courses.

“Through this bill, the government can show the families of these brave men that we honor their loved ones’ sacrifices and that we consider them as heroes not to be forgotten in the annals of time,” he said.

The slain soldiers were part of a contingent of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sent to Patikul, Sulu to track several Abu Sayyaf members accused of kidnapping three foreign nationals and three Filipinos as far back as last year. Nine others in their unit were wounded as they were attacked by a large number of the insurgents on their way to their detachment.

The fatalities include 2nd Lt. Alfredo Lorin VI and Privates First Class Rene Gare, Andres Bogwana, Jay Alasain, Jayson Durante, Roxas Pizarro and Dominador Sabijon Jr.