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PNoy confers bravery medals on 44 fallen cops

(Updated 4:26 p.m.) Medals recognizing their bravery in performing their duty "in the face of superior enemy force" were given posthumously to the 44 elite policemen killed in Sunday's encounter with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

President Benigno Aquino III, the commander in chief of government security forces, conferred the Medalya ng Katapangan on the slain officers during the necrological services in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig on Friday.

The fourth highest award of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Medalya ng Katapangan is conferred on officers who have had to face “a superior enemy force in actual combat” and “exhibited gallantry in action,” according to a briefer on the government's official website.

The medal, which corresponds to the Gold Cross Medal of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, was created on September 23, 1993.

The conferment came amid public outcry against Aquino, who did not attend the ceremony marking the arrival of the slain police officers' remains in Metro Manila from Mindanao.

Netizens were also quick to point the President's late arrival to the necrological services.

January 30, 2015 has been declared as National Day of Mourning for the fallen policemen, who were all members of the PNP's elite Special Action Force.

Promotions, benefits

Meanwhile, PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo A Espina said he has approved the recommendation of the PNP Special Promotion Awards and Decorations Board (SPADB) to confer meritorious promotion to the 44 fallen police commandos.

Espina said with the promotion, all financial benefits and pension due to the surviving kin will be computed based on the salary scale of the new rank.

Surviving kin of slain policemen in the encounter are entitled to receive death benefits ranging from P1.5 million to P2 million.

Death benefits for policemen killed in line of duty include P250,000.00 from the President’s Social Fund; between P141,000.00 up to P181,000.00 as Special Financial Assistance (SFA) from the PNP; burial benefits worth P50,000.00; and P200,000.00 gratuity from the National Police Commission (Napolcom).

PNP members of the Public Safety Mutual Benefit Fund are also entitled to death insurance ranging from P225,000.00 to P417,000.00 depending on rank.

These death benefits are on top of the monthly lifetime pension from the PNP ranging from P15,000.00 to P25,000.00 depending on rank; and roughly the same amount of pension for five years from the Napolcom.

Espina also announced the availability of PNP educational benefits to qualified dependents of the 44 deceased PNP-SAF personnel. This PNP scholarship program is bankrolled by revenue from gun licenses and permits collected by the PNP.—Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News