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Congress demands medals for SAF 44

LEADERS of the House of Representatives on Sunday urged the Aquino administration to fast-track the conferment of the Medal of Valor on the 44 members of the PNP Special Action Force troopers who were killed in and who survived the Jan. 25 clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao right after Malaysian bomb-maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, was neutralized.

Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, House independent bloc leader, said giving the highest award of the PNP to the SAF members for their act of heroism would boost the morale of the entire police force and show that the government is looking after their welfare.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo and Alfred Vargas agreed with Romualdez.

“Let us show our concern and compassion for them. We must rally behind giving some, if not all, SAF members who were killed and survived the Mamasapano clash the Medal of Valor,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez, who is also president of the Philippine Constitution Association, reiterated that the SAF troopers killed Marwan, not his aide.

“We should give them the award,” said Belmonte, who is also vice chairman of the ruling Liberal Party.

“I agree that the greatest honor we can bestow upon the SAF 44 is to give them the highest accolade. They sacrificed their lives so others may live,” said Castelo, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development and an LP member.

“The SAF members deserve the Medal of Valor. With this, they will be remembered in history as heroes who offered their lives for the good of the country,” said Vargas, another LP member.

Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian also backed the conferment of the award on the SAF members.

Under Republic Act 9049, a Medal of Valor awardee is entitled to a lifetime monthly gratuity of P20,000. The children of an awardee shall also be given scholarships to the Philippine Military Academy or the Philippine National Police Academy and are given priority if they want to work for the government.

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