Bong Go

Aggrieved retired police officer thanks Bong Go

August 4, 2021 People's Journal 227 views

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go assured an aggrieved retired police officer that he will bring to the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte his and his colleagues’ concerns regarding their disability benefits.

Hector Fernandez, a former sergeant of the Philippine National Police, is taking part in a long protest walk from Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon to the Malacañang Palace in Manila to persuade Duterte to overturn a decision by the Department of Budget and Management to suspend their disability benefit. The benefit or support was suspended to guarantee that PNP officials did not receive double compensation of benefits.

“Opo, narinig ko po ang sinabi niya kanina, ang hinaing niya kanina. Ka Hector, ‘wag ka munang maglakad papunta ng Malakanyang, napakalayo po nito at ‘wag kayo mag-alala at ipaparating ko agad kay Pangulong Duterte ang inyong hinaing at mag-aapela po ako sa DOJ (Department of Justice) na kung maaari ay pag-aralang muli at balikan ang kanilang naging legal opinion disallowing the allowance dahil double compensation daw po ito,” Go told him during a radio interview on Monday, August 2.

“Gagawin po natin ang lahat para makakita tayo ng win-win solution dito,” he added.

The DBM ordered DILG Secretary Eduardo Año in November 2019 to take necessary steps to halt the provision of double compensation of disability and death benefits to PNP officers.

The National Police Commission responded in December 2019, citing the legal reasons for the separate distribution of police benefits under the NAPOLCOM-managed PNP Welfare Benefits Program and the PNP Retirement Benefits Program, stating that these payments may not be considered double remuneration.

However, on January 14, the Commission on Audit stated in an Audit Observation Memorandum that the said benefits amounted to double remuneration. The COA also recommended that all PNP welfare benefits be stopped immediately in all NAPOLCOM offices.

Go has said that he is willing to act as a mediator to find a win-win solution to the problem. “Ako naman po, handa akong pumagitna bilang Vice Chair ng (Senate) Public Order and Dangerous Drugs (Committee),” said Go.

“Ayoko po mangako, hindi naman po ako pulitiko na mangangako lang na di ko naman kayang gawin pero willing po ako na magpagitna at handang tumulong maipaabot bilang tulay nyo sa ating Pangulo at bilang mambabatas naman po kung ano po ang maitutulong namin sa inyo, tutulong kami,” he added.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Go also urged Fernandez to postpone his protest walk for the time being. Instead, he offered him transportation if he still wanted to go to Manila.

Meanwhile, Fernandez thanked the Senator, saying, “Opo, maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyo, Senator, sa pag-unawa mo sa amin, sa kalagayan po namin. Di lang po ako nadisability at mga kasama kong pulis na survivor, pati mga pulis po natin na may night differential, sana po ibigay po sana two years pa po ang di pa naibibigay,” he said.

The former PNP personnel was forced to retire in 2011 after sustaining a spinal cord injury while participating in a police operation in Nueva Ecija to combat unlawful gambling.

In the evening right after the interview, Go arranged a conference call with President Duterte, Secretary of Justice and Hector. Hector was very grateful for the opportunity given by Go to speak to the President and iterate his concerns.