Palace vows jobs, college aid for 'SAF 44' families

MANILA, Philippines – The Palace promised on Saturday, January 31, to provide permanent jobs and college education for the families of the 44 elite cops who died in a clash with Muslim rebels in Maguindanao.

In an interview over state-run dzRB, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said government assistance for them will also include livelihood training, financial aid, and guidance and counseling. 

Coloma said government agencies will meet in the next few days to discuss these forms of assistance for the families of the 44 slain troopers of the Special Action Force (SAF), known as the “SAF 44.”

The Palace brought up these plans after Philippine President Benigno Aquino III spent more than 12 hours on Friday, January 30, in a military camp to condole with the victims' families.

Coloma explained that when Aquino visited the families of the SAF 44 on Friday, January 30, Aquino asked them how the government can help in rebuilding their lives – especially because the slain troopers served as breadwinners.

The families said they wanted decent homes, stable jobs, and for their children, college education.

Nagkaroon ng unawaan ang mga pamilya at ang Pangulo hinggil sa pangangailangan na maging matatag sila para mabigyan ng buong kahulugan ang kabayanihan ng kanilang mga anak, asawa, o kapatid,” Coloma said.

(The families and the President had an understanding about the need for them to be strong to give full meaning to the heroism of their children, spouses, or siblings.)

Also on Friday, Aquino made his most important promise to the victims' families: justice. 

The president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, explained that justice is a prerequisite to peace. – Rappler.com