The 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force who perished in clash in Maguindanao -- all heroes on the battlefield -- would not be forgotten, and so are their families.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) announced that it is offering scholarships for any qualified dependents of the troops based on the government's Social Services Program for the Families of Killed in Action (KIA) Soldiers and Police Personnel.
"We are expressing our prayers for the bereaved families of the SAF men. The nation is grateful for the sacrifices of our troops," TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said.
"These scholarships for free technical vocational education will be a lasting tribute to their bravery and sacrifice," Villanueva added.
The wounded SAF men and their dependents, he said, could also avail of the scholarships.
On Thursday, January 29, the remains of the fallen SAF men arrived at the Villamor Airbase from Mindanao, and were given full state honors. They were accorded medals of valor and spot promotion.
"The people left without a father, husband, son, friend -- they are the quiet casualties of war," Villanueva said.
"Giving educational assistance to the families of the SAF commandos would help them for the rest of their lives," he added.
During the necrological services for the SAF men last January 30, Villanueva accompanied President Benigno Aquino III in personally condoling and talking to the family of each of the SAF men.
"The President assured them that alongside efforts to give them justice, the government will also make available the assistance they deserve," the TESDA chief said.
Villlanueva said he has instructed all concerned TESDA provincial and district offices to get in touch with the dependents of the SAF men and discuss the scholarship opportunities available to them.
TESDA has a variety of courses in which the trainees can learn new skills for employment or to start a business of their own.
The scholarships can come from any of TESDA’s major programs such as the Training for Work Scholarship Program, Private Education Student Financial Assistance and the Special Training for Employment Program, which cater to specific needs and qualifications of the grantees. END