Personnel of the Police Regional Office in Caraga Region (PRO-13) observed the “Day of Remembrance for SAF 44” in a ceremony.
The SAF 44 refers to the 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) who were killed during the operation to capture Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir alias Marwan in Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, 2015.
The “Day of Remembrance” was led by PRO-Caraga director, Brig. Gen. Joselito Esquivel Jr. and graced by Agusan del Norte 2nd District Rep. Ma. Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba, who was the guest speaker.
The activity started with a Holy Mass, the wreath-laying ceremony at the PRO-13 Law Enforcement Memorial, and highlighted with the presentation of the plaque of recognition to the 1st Special Action Battalion of the PNP in the region.
The plaque was received by Lt. Col. Christopher Mendoza, commander of 1st SAF Battalion in Caraga.
Maj.Renel Serrano, PRO-13 chief information officer, told Philippine News Agency (PNA) that PNP personnel killed while performing their duty were also given recognition during the activity.
Conferred with posthumous awards and Medalya ng Kadakilaan include the late SSgt. Emmanuel Lamigo, who was killed in December last year by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Cagwait, Surigao del Sur; Patrolman Ronald Napalan, who was killed in an encounter with the NPA in Zapanta, Kicharao, Agusan del Norte last year; and PCMS Jimmer Omisol, who was killed by the NPA in Carmen, Agusan del Norte last year.
Amante-Matba, during her message, told the PRO-13 personnel to make the heroic deeds of the 44 elite police commandos as an inspiration in the police service.
“The 44 SAF heroes did not die in vain. They will be remembered always for their bravery in offering their lives as good soldiers of this country,” she said, adding she hopes that justice will be given to the SAF 44.
Esquivel, meanwhile, said the heroism and ultimate sacrifices of SAF 44 have contributed to the freedom that the Filipinos enjoy today.
“Heroism is not just about sacrificing your own life. One can be kind to be a hero. One can give and share to be a hero. Heroism is about thinking of others above personal interest,” Esquivel said.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s Presidential Proclamation No. 164 declared January 25 of every year as the National Day of Remembrance for the SAF 44. (PNA)