Honoring our fallen heroes

THE CORNER ORACLE - Andrew J. Masigan - The Philippine Star

Four-year-old Joulean Casil was an incoming kindergarten student in Benguet province when her father, Police Corporal Marlon Casil, died in a bomb blast while in pursuit of radical terrorists. Joulean was left an orphan without safety nets.

Corporal Casil was the family breadwinner. With a household to feed, clothe and shelter, his widow could no longer afford to send Joulean to school. Little Joulean was destined to grow up uneducated and probably illiterate. Joulean’s fate consigned her to a life of poverty and need.

Zaryn Resurreccion is an eight-year-old student who was at the top of her class in North Cotabato. Her father, Major Joan Resurreccion, was the former chief of police of their town. Sadly, Major Resurreccion was killed in the crossfire after responding to a murder situation.

The young Resurreccion had to drop out of school due to financial difficulties. Like Joulean, she too would be consigned to a life of poverty and dependence.

The good news is that both Joulean and Zaryn are back in school, thanks to scholarship grants given by the Bayaning Pulis Foundation Inc. (BPFI). Both kids are doing well and thriving. Joulean is now in grade one and aspires to be a nurse, while Zaryn is in grade three and hopes to be an engineer. Both their futures look bright.

Joulean and Zaryn are among the lucky few. In the last five years alone, some 2,298 policemen were killed in action and collectively left 913 dependents with no choice but to drop out of school.

This is where Bayaning Pulis Foundation comes in. BPFI provides educational grants to the children of police officers who died or have become permanently disabled in the performance of their duties. It is a non-profit organization funded exclusively by sponsorships from the private sector. BPFI works in partnership with the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The scholarship recipients are evaluated by a committee headed by BPFI’s president, Police Brigadier General Noel Baraceros. Baraceros is a retired leader of the PNP with a well decorated career. BPFI’s initiatives augment the existing scholarships provided under Republic Act No. 6963.

BPFI has so far awarded 63 scholarships since 2021 worth some P4.8 million. Scholarships are granted for all levels spanning kindergarten to university studies. But 63 scholars barely scratch the surface of orphans needing financial assistance. Baraceros and the good folks at BPFI are working to assist at least half of the 913 disenfranchised orphans.

Funds are raised through individual and corporate sponsorships. Individuals can sponsor a half-year tuition fee for as low as P15,000. More substantial corporate sponsorship packages are available to benefit more students over multiple years. Those who wish to know more about BPFI can check www.bayaningpulis.org. Those who wish to support may email [email protected] or [email protected].

Bayaning Pulis Foundation is the brainchild of Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico. Many may recognize Ambassador Yujuico as a successful institutional investor, land developer and technology capitalist. But many may not be aware that the man is a fervent patriot who goes over and above the call of duty for worthy causes. Yujuico has always had soft spot for our police force.

In a public address, Yujuico stressed that “these scholarships are not just financial aid. They represent a profound commitment to the families left behind by our dedicated police officers. When a law enforcement officer makes the ultimate sacrifice, their children are left to grapple with the profound loss of a parent, while also navigating the challenges of pursuing an education. The scholarships we offer provide a glimmer of hope in the midst of darkness, a lifeline that helps to alleviate the burden on these families during their time of grief. By providing scholarships to the children of fallen police officers, we are not only recognizing their parents’ sacrifice but also investing in the future of our society.”

Ambassador Yujuico and BPFI are also developing programs to extend assistance to living but partially incapacitated police officers.

I first met Ambassador Yujuico in 2021 when he showed me the technology innovation center he had built in a sprawling 1,000-square meter space in the MOA district. The center boasts state of the art facilities and equipment meant to provide Filipino tech start-ups with the tools they need to get their ventures off the ground. Fledgling entrepreneurs can use the facilities free of charge. The innovation center is Ambassador Yujuico’s contribution to the advancement of the Philippine tech industry.

Later, I found out that Ambassador Yujuico is also the moving force behind the Regional Advisory Group for Police Transformation and Development for the Police Force of Metro Manila (RAGPTD-NCRPO). The group is a private initiative that works towards good governance, operational capacitation and efficiency in the police force. A safe and secure Metro Manila is good for business and our citizens alike, said Yujuico.

These are just a few of the many social causes Ambassador Yujuico champions.

Back to BPFI – our police force is often maligned for the misdeeds of a few while the honest majority, those who risk their lives in the line of duty, are taken for granted. It’s about time we honor them. These are men and women who have chosen a career that will never make them wealthy but will put them in harm’s way. They have heeded the call to protect and serve when most of us would not. They give us their lives in service yet ask for little in return.

Ensuring a good future for our fallen or disabled heroes is the best way we can honor them. That said, I encourage one and all to support the cause of Bayaning Pulis Foundation.

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Email: [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @aj_masigan

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