The families of the gallant 44 members of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will receive more than P6-million in cash, the amount raised through the “Songs for Heroes” benefit concert initiated by UNTV and Members Church of God International (MCGI).
The P1-million of the total amount was donated by Bro. Eli Soriano, host of Ang Dating Daan religious program. The AFP Finance Center will distribute this amount to the families left behind by the soldiers killed in the all-out offensive against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
The PNP Special Assistance Fund, recipient of P6-million, will then distribute this amount to the deceased families of the 44 members of the SAF.
Apart from these support, Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel Razon, CEO and Chairman of Breakthrough and Milestones Productions International, offered to give scholarship grants to deserving dependents left behind by the brave SAF members and soldiers.
Meanwhile, Bro. Eli gave each of the families cash envelopes containing P10,000 in cash during the concert. “Songs for Heroes” benefit concert was held on March 19, 2015 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Progressive Broadcasting Corporation’s Atom Henares has pledged an additional Php 500,000 for the bereaved families as well.
Bro. Eli said the children of the SAF members can avail of the sholarship package offered at the La Verdad Christian College in Caloocan City. It will be noted that La Verdad’s free education program provides qualifying college students free lodging, meals, uniform and books.
UNTV produced the charity concert following Bro. Eli’s tweets calling netizens to support the incumbent administration, instead of calling for President Benigno Aquino III or P-Noy’s resignation.
“Instead of blaming the President, why not help?,” recalled Bro. Eli as the content of the tweets he posted using his @BroEliSoriano Twitter account. He added,“there is no Commander-in-Chief na gusto niyang mapatay ang kanyang mga sundalo (there is no Commander-in-Chief who wants his soldiers to perish).”
“Kaya, as a way of helping the President, maintain peace and order, naisip ko na mag-launch ng isang concert, for these heroes, they are heroes, (As a way of helping the President, maintain peace and order, I thought of launching a concert dedicated for these heroes, [because] they are heroes.).”
Observers note that the Aquino administation faced its harshest criticisms from different groups for allegedly mishandling the Mamasapano operation.
The official hashtag: #Songs4HeroesConcert debuted at No. 2 in Philippines trends on Thursday morning in the Philippines.
Among those who graced the concert include the heads of PNP and AFP, namely, P/CSupt. Nestor Quinsay and Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang.
Present to perform during the concert were: Noel Cabangon, Faith Cuneta, Bo Cerrudo, Jonalyn Viray, Jay Durias, Neocolour with Ito Rapadas, 5th Gen, Gerald Santos, The Voysing, the Bueno Sisters, and Bembe and Trifosa Erese. The AFP and PNP Chorales also performed during the concert.
A repeat of the concert, which will be dedicated to the 77 injured SAF staff in Mamasapano incident last January 25, this year, is already being planned.
(Erratum: The amount to be received was incorrectly placed at P7-million. This has been corrected.)