Lacson bill expands special assistance to beneficiaries of uniformed personnel killed or wounded in duty

Families or beneficiaries of police and military personnel, jail officers and firefighters killed or incapacitated in the line of duty may soon avail of special financial assistance from government, through a bill filed by Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson.

Lacson, who headed the Philippine National Police from 1999 to 2001, said his proposed measure defines the sources of funds for the benefits available to beneficiaries of the uniformed service personnel.

“It is high time that we provide the much-needed boost to our police personnel by showing our concern amidst the challenging role they play in our present society. One way of showing our concern is by giving support to the educational benefits of qualified dependents of police personnel. Certainly, this will help alleviate the economic condition of our personnel. While we are quick to condemn the scalawags in uniform, we must also be fast to reward the deserving,” he said in Senate Bill 260

[Download: Senate Bill 260, Financial Assistance to Family/Beneficiary of Police or Military Personnel Killed While on Duty]

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He noted Republic Act No. 6963 grants special financial assistance and benefits to kin or beneficiaries of police, military or firefighting personnel killed or are permanently incapacitated due to their work.

But the particular law mandates that the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Bureau of Fire Protection share in the allocation of funds from the license fees of firearms collected by the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police’s Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) to support the educational program of their dependents.

At the time this arrangement was mandated, Lacson noted the police was still under the AFP. But with Republic Act 6975, the PNP became separate from the AFP and BFP.

“It becomes logical therefore that the proceeds of the fees collected by the PNP through the FEO should redound solely to its benefits. Besides, the strength of the PNP is almost equal to that of the AFP and therefore, the amount generated out of the proceeds of the license fees will just be enough to support the needs of the PNP. Additionally, the AFP and the BFP have their own funding sources since they too have their own revenue generating activities to support their programs,” he said.

Under Lacson’s bill:

– proceeds of the firearms license fees collected by the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office, which is the source of educational funds under R.A. No. 6963 shall be allocated solely for the use of the qualified dependents of the PNP
– educational benefits shall also extend to qualified dependents of non-uniformed personnel of the PNP
– the PNP shall manage the amount collected as educational funds for the dependents of PNP
– the Chief, PNP shall be authorized to utilize the educational funds for other purposes in the PNP

Also, the bill will amend R.A. 6963 to include the family or beneficiary of any personnel of the PNP, AFP, Bureau of Fire Protection, and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology killed or permanently incapacitated in the line of duty.

The bill defines the special financial assistance as equivalent to the average six months’ salary, including allowances and bonuses, during the last 12 months preceding the death or permanent incapacity of the personnel. This shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment or execution and from income and other taxes.

Such assistance is to be delivered to the beneficiaries within three days from receipt of a written certification from the station or unit commander of the fact of death and the circumstances thereof.

A surviving spouse of the deceased or permanently incapacitated police, military, BFP or BJMP personnel shall get priority in employment in a government agency or office where his/her qualifications are fitted.

Meanwhile, up to four children of the deceased or permanently incapacitated personnel may get a scholarship up to college subject to policies of the institution’s tuition. The scholarship privilege shall be limited to the National Police Commission or the Department of National Defense, upon presentation of the approved enrollment or registration form.

Scholarship board

Funds collected from the firearms licensing fees shall be managed and administered by a PNP scholarship board with a chairman and four members designated by the Chief, PNP. The Chief, PNP can invest part of the fund for generating added revenue to benefit the scholarship program.

Similar scholarship boards may be set up for the BJMP and BFP. As for the scholarship funds of the AFP, its existing administration and management shall prevail.

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