SAF 44 WIDOW CITES FULFILLED, BROKEN PROMISES A YEAR AFTER THAT FATEFUL DAY

TACLOBAN CITY – A widow of one of the slain Special Action Force (SAF) troopers recalled the government’s fulfilled and broken promises as the country marks the first anniversary of the Mamasapano clash.

Kristine Clemensio got a regular job as an English instructor at the Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU) Carigara, Leyte campus, a few months after the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that killed 44 SAF members, including her husband, Police Officer 1 Mark Lory Clemensio.

“I remember that President Aquino and Commission on Higher Education Chairperson (Patricia) Licuanan promised to help me become a permanent employee since I already have a Masters degree. They fulfilled that promise on July 2015,” the widow recalled.

She’s now earning a salary of Php18,000 monthly and allowances, enough to support their four-year-old son.

A year after the incident, Kristine, her son and her parents are still living in her aunt’s house in Canfabi village, seven kilometers away from the town center.

The Office of the President promised to extend housing assistance to the family. The National Housing Authority (NHA) has been contacting her for the construction of housing units in her preferred lots in their village.

“NHA officials are done with their site assessment and we had several meetings with them, but until now, everything about the house is just a drawing,” Kristine told PNA.

Representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development also promised to extend Php300,000 livelihood assistance for the acquisition of baking equipments. In the past few months, the DSWD stopped giving them updates.

“I did not make follow ups because I trust that the government would be true to their promise. Besides, we’re not the one who asked for it. They’re the one who offered help,” Kristine said.

On the other hand, the widow thanked the government for generating about Php300,000 donations for their family after the incident.

Without elaborating figures, the widow recalled receiving the President’s Social Fund-Special Financial Assistance, six months’ salary, allowances and bonuses, Commutation of Accumulated Leaves, Back Earned Pension, burial and gratuity pay, Public Safety Mutual Benefit Fund, Inc.

“I don’t expect much financial assistance from the government because we can earn that. What is more important is justice for my husband’s death,” Kristine added.

One year as a widow has been very tough for the young mother. “It’s painful to hear our son telling me that bad guys brutally shot his papa.”

Kristine described Mark, her high school classmate, as a very kind husband, a good provider, and dependable. They got married in 2010.

“It’s his ambition to become a law enforcer. He attempted to enter the Philippine Military Academy, but failed during the screening. He took up computer engineering, spent a few years teaching before joining the Philippine National Police in 2013,” the widow shared.

Mark, a native of Carigara town, earned his college degree at the Adamson University. After graduation, he taught computer subjects at STI College Tacloban, EVSU Tacloban and Carigara campuses. PNA/northboundasia.com