Forever indebted to SAF 44

HOW could we forget SAF 44? We will be forever grateful to the brave and courageous young policemen from the Special Action Force who offered their lives so that we can live in peace.

More than four years after their heroism took place, the demonstration of gratitude to these rare breed of cops continues up to this day.

Still reaching out to relatives of the slain members of the Philippine National Police is the state pension fund  Government Service Insurance System.

Just recently infact, the agency invited the kins of SAF 44 to work for them. The move is in accordance to President Duterte’s appeal to government offices to prioritize employment of their widows and siblings.

To make the job offer, GSIS is communicating with relatives of the heroes killed during the bloody encounter with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Mamasapano.

“It is not easy to fill the void left by the SAF 44 as breadwinners. We would like to give their families a source of income by working in GSIS, said GSIS Chairman and concurrent Officer in Charge - President and General Manager Rolando Ledesma Macasaet.

“At the same time, they will be augmenting our operational requirements to better serve our members and pensioners,” he added.

Macasaet said applicants will undergo evaluation based on standard operating procedures to determine if they are qualified.

To date, GSIS has employed five of them at its Zamboanga Branch. They are Lhea Tabdi, widow of Police Senior Inspector Gednat Tabdi; Emeliza Danao, wife of Police Officer 2 Walner Danao; Margaret Manuel, fiancee of Police Officer 2 Joel Dulnuan; Adelisa Bedua, wife of Police Officer 2 Glenn Bedua; and Andrada Asjali, sister of Police Officer 3 Jedz In Asjali.

When asked how they took the news that they have been employed by GSIS, the first batch of hires said they welcomed the opportunity to earn a living and to take the first step toward healing.

Meanwhile, the application of Ms. Janet Carap, widow of Police Officer 2 Peterson Indongsan Carap of Kabayan, Benguet is being processed. She will likely be assigned to the GSIS Baguio branch office.

It can also be recalled that GSIS paid the Employee Compensation (EC) funeral benefits of SAF 44 policemen and released the initial pension benefits of their survivors barely a month after the tragedy struck.

The surviving spouses and dependents of qualified SAF 44 policemen have since been receiving EC pension administered by GSIS.

Indeed, GSIS is the first agency under President Duterte’s administration to provide this kind of assistance to the SAF 44 families.

I’m sure more help will come for them because many Filipinos including this corner are indebted to SAF 44.

Surviving relatives of SAF 44 who are interested to apply in GSIS may coordinate with Vice President for Human Resources Atty. Violeta Carmel F. Quintos through telephone number 859.0227 or email address vfquintos@gsis.gov.ph.