TODAY, January 25, 2024, marked the ninth anniversary of the deaths of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) members who were slain in a confrontation with Muslim rebel groups in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
The ceremony was held at the Police Regional Office (PRO 7) headquarters in Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City.
Police Major General Robert Rodriguez, the acting commander of the Area Police Command-Visayas, was the guest of honor at the ceremony, which is known as the Day of National Remembrance for the valiant sacrifice of SAF 44.
Former president Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation Number 164 in 2017 to recognize the 44 SAF members’ heroic achievements and selfless sacrifices every January 25.
The 44 SAF members were killed in a military operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015 where their target were terrorist bomb makers Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, a Malaysian suspected of being responsible for the 2002 bombings in Bali, Indonesia, who had a $5 million bounty on his head, and Filipino muslim Abdul Basit Usman, who escaped.
Three police officers—Police Officer 3 Junrel Kibete from Argao town, Police Officer 1 Wendel Candano from Dumanjug town, and Police Officer 2 Romeo Cempron from Consolacion town—were among those killed.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, the PRO 7 spokesperson, claimed that the memorial for SAF 44 demonstrates that their sacrifices were not in vain because these would serve as an example to other policemen.
(The Philippine National Police is ready to do its work whatever the hazards it encounters. This is our promise to our job, this is a promise to the people. Although this is a very sad incident, it only goes to show that your police are doing their job and will do everything to maintain peace and order).
Patrolman Candano's mother, Marciana, who was present during the event, acknowledged that although they are still grieving, they are pleased that their loved ones are still honored and remembered.
(My son was silent; I don't think that will help him become SAF 44, but we backed him because that was what he wanted).
Despite the fact that nine years have gone, according to Dr. Cempron, the incident is still fresh in her memory.
(Even though it is a difficult day to remember, consider how happy we are for them each time they hold a celebration to show that at least their efforts are remembered). (AYB, TPT)