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ACORDA CONFIDENT SRI ISSUE WILL BE CLARIFIED SOON BY COA AUDIT

May 27, 2023 Alfred P. Dalizon 216 views

Alfred DalizonAMID the many challenges confronting his month-old leadership, PNP chief, General Benjie Acorda is highly confident that the issue regarding the distribution of Service Recognition Incentives or SRI to members of the 228,000-strong force in 2022 will be fully clarified by a Commission on Audit report.

This week, the top cop said they are eagerly anticipating the COA Comprehensive report on the matter to provide clarity and insight into the issue surrounding the Fiscal Year 2022 SRI distribution in the force.

He issued the statement as DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos revealed that the COA is currently conducting an audit of the fund releases last year specifically concerning the SRI where PNP uniformed and non-uniformed personnel reportedly received an amount lower than the other agencies.

The DILG chief mentioned that the COA report is expected to be released next month, or nearly two months after Gen. Acorda took his oath of office before PBBM as the 29th PNP chief vice now retired Gen. Jun Azurin. Of course, everybody knows that Sec. Abalos has had some differences with Gen. Azurin over some internal issues and did not recommend Gen. Acorda as Azurin’s replacement. However, as they always say, everything’s water under the bridge, the disagreements already forgotten or forgiven.

Gen. Acorda said they have taken cognizance claims by some critics regarding the inadequate SRI distribution to members of the police force. “We take this issue seriously and we are committed to addressing it thoroughly. We are committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in the handling of funds. We eagerly await the COA report which will provide clarity on this issue,” he said.

In December of the previous year, President Bongbong Marcos Jr. authorized the release of a one-time SRI for employees in the executive branch through Administrative Order (AO) 1.

The initiative aimed to acknowledge the collective and invaluable contributions of government personnel in ensuring the responsive delivery of services, particularly amid the ongoing public health emergency caused by the pandemic and other socio-economic challenges.

Under the AO, the grant of a one-time SRI at a uniform rate not exceeding P20,000 for each of the personnel in the Executive Department shall be charged against the available released Personnel Services (PS) Allotments of the respective agencies under RA 11639 or the Fiscal Year 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

In case of deficiency, the amount required may be charged against the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) of the concerned agency. Further, Section 4, para “d” of the AO stated that should the funding source prove insufficient to cover the full amount of the SRI, a lower but uniform amount shall be paid to all qualified employees. The SRI was subjected to 25%-30% taxes under the TRAIN Law.

Obviously, some PNP personnel as well as critics of the organization believed that all PNP personnel should receive a P20,000 SRI last year, not P7,000 only. This belief has triggered speculations that something is wrong in the distribution of the SRI in 2022 which the PNP leadership believe will be fully explained by the COA findings.

In the wake of the SRI issue, PNP Public Information Office chief, Brigadier Gen. Red Maranan emphasized anew the commitment of the organization to prioritize the timely release of all funds due to its personnel as it serves as a significant factor in boosting personnel’s morale and providing crucial support to their families.

“We are dedicated to ensuring that all funds rightfully owed to our personnel are promptly disbursed. This practice not only uplifts their spirits but also extends valuable assistance to them and their loved ones, ultimately contributing to their overall well-being,” Brig. Gen. Maranan underscored.

PRAYERS FOR OUR FALLEN COPS

MY family and I again join the entire country, the PNP organization in particular in praying for the souls of our policemen who have offered the ultimate sacrifice while launching an aggressive war against ‘armed and dangerous’ drug traffickers and other criminals in the country.

The latest of these fallen cops is Corporal Darnel Alfonso, the 35-year old brave Bataan policeman who failed to return home alive last Tuesday after being shot in an anti-narcotics operation in Orion municipality.

Set to be in the police service for eight years this coming October, the hardworking Cpl. Alfonso became the latest policeman to be killed in the line of duty. From July 2022 to last March alone, I learned that there were already 25 police personnel who have been killed in gunbattles with armed and defiant drug dealers. Another 77 were also hurt.

I understand that one of the saddest things that an officer will do in his career is how to tell the family of a dead colleague that he has been killed in action, in the line of duty. Indeed, no words of affection can comfort the wife, children, father, mother, brothers and sisters of a cop at the moment they hear the very sad news. That has been observed in the cases of the more than 20 cops killed in the performance of duty under the young PBBM administration.

Gen. Acorda this week cited the heroism of Cpl. Alfonso as he presented a posthumous award to the slain cop’s family last Thursday. The top cop, accompanied by Police Regional Office 3 director, Brigadier Gen. Jose Hidalgo Jr. visited the wake of the late cop and talked to the latter’s wife and other family members after paying his last respect to the fallen officer.

Cpl. Alfonso, a member of the Provincial Intelligence Unit of the Bataan Police Provincial Office was shot dead by one of two slain armed drug traffickers during a buy-bust operation in Purok 8 in Barangay General Lim in Orion municipality on Tuesday.

The PNP chief also presented the posthumous PNP Medalya ng Kadakilaan or PNP Heroism Medal to Cpl. Alfonso’s grieving mother. “We pay tribute to the exemplary service and sacrifice of Police Corporal Darnel Alfonso. His commitment to his duty is an inspiration to us all,” said Gen. Acorda as he extended the entire PNP’s deepest condolences to the Alfonso family and assured them that the PNP stands in solidarity with them during this difficult time.

Gen. Acorda also visited in their hospital beds Major Dennis Duran, the Officer-in-Charge of the Bataan PPO’s Provincial Intelligence Unit and Staff Sergeant Glenn Salac who were both wounded during the gunbattle with the two suspects. The PNP chief awarded the Medalya ng Sugatang Magiting to Maj. Duran and SSgt. Salac for their courageous actions during the said operation.

He also handed over financial assistance to the Alfonso family and the two wounded police officers. “We are committed to providing assistance and ensuring the well-being of our personnel in times of need. We stand united in our commitment and dedication to enforce the law while upholding peace and security throughout the nation,” Gen. Acorda said.

The three were among the Bataan policemen who conducted the sting 1 a.m. last Tuesday. Cpl. Alfonso was shot by one of the suspects and died while being rushed to a hospital.

The suspects, one of them identified as Mark Anthony Capacia were killed during an ensuing gunbattle with colleagues of Alfonso.

The PNP assured the orphaned family of Cpl. Alfonso of the immediate release of all financial assistance and benefits due him, said PNP Public Information Office chief, Brig. Gen. Red Maranan.

The official added that Gen. Acorda has ordered the PRO3 leadership to provide for all the medical needs of the two wounded officers until their full recovery. “The PNP will not be daunted by this temporary setback. Rather we will emerge stronger and more inspired by the heroic death of Cpl. Alfonso who courageously came face-to-face with the enemy and made the supreme sacrifice while performing his duty,” said Brig. Gen. Maranan.

Nice comforting words. By the way, what has happened to the case of slain San Miguel, Bulacan police chief, Lieutenant Colonel Marlon Serna who was killed last March 25 following an encounter with two fleeing motorcycle thieves in nearby San Ildefonso town? A P1.2 million reward was offered for any information that will lead to the capture of the killers of the young PNP Academy graduate but two months after he was shot in the head, there is still no word from the PRO3 and the Bulacan police force regarding the progress of their manhunt for the killers.

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