The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of National Defense (DND) will conduct a joint inquiry regarding the alleged “misencounter” between Army troopers and police operatives in Samar province on Monday morning.
“This is a very unfortunate event that nobody wanted to happen. Together with the DND, we will form a board of inquiry to investigate the incident in order to determine the cause of this unfortunate event and draw up measures to prevent the same from happening again,” says DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Ano.
Ano says the board will also seek answers and summon concerned officials on why prior communication and coordination were not made between local military and police forces in the conduct of combat operations in the area.
“There are existing protocols between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in field operations. We will try to determine why these were not followed and if these need review and modifications,” he says.
In the morning of June 25, elements of the Philippine Army 87th Infantry Battalion had a misencounter with members of the 805th Mobile Company of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 8 as both groups were conducting simultaneous combat operations in Sta. Rita and Villareal towns.
Six police officers were killed while nine others were wounded in the incident.
“We are really very saddened by this incident as both troops were just doing their jobs of going against lawless elements and protecting the community,” says Ano.
The DILG Chief also expresses his condolences to the bereaved families of the slain cops as he assured them of the immediate release of financial assistance due them under the Comprehensive Social Benefits Program (CSBP).
“On behalf of the DILG and the PNP leadership, my deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the policemen who died during this unfortunate incident. I have already given specific instructions to the PMO to expedite the release of the benefits and assistance to help you cope in this hour of bereavement,” he says.
The CSBP covers four levels of assistance. A Special Finance Assistance (SFA) will be granted in two tranches to the beneficiaries of Killed in Action/Killed in Police Operation (KIA/KIPO) in the amount of P500,000; to Wounded in Action/Wounded in Police Operation (WIA/WIPO) with total permanent physical disability (TPPD) in the amount of P250,000; and to WIA/WIPO with major and minor injuries in the amount of P100,000.
There will also be generous Shelter Assistance to families of KIA/WIPO and WIA/WIPO with TPPD worth P450,000; Health Care Assistance through coverage of premiums from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) worth P2,400 per year, and maintenance medicines provided by the Department of Health for qualified beneficiaries of KIA/KIPO personnel; and Educational Assistance in the provision of annual stipends for up to two (2) children or other beneficiaries of KIA/KIPO and WIA/WIPO with TPPD.