Heroism of 'SAF 44'  remembered


BAGUIO CITY, Jan 28(PIA) -- The Police Regional Office – Cordillera(PRO-Cor) led the commemoration of the gallantry and heroism of the SAF 44 in a simple program at the SAF 44 Memorial Site in Camp John Hay on Monday(Jan.25).

January 25, 2021 marks the sixth year death anniversary of the  44   Philippine National Police - Special Action Forces troopers,14 of them Cordillerans,  who sacrificed their lives in the botched operation dubbed as Oplan Exodus in Mamasapano, Maguindanao to capture Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir  alias Marwan.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has declared January 25 of every year as A Day of National Remembrance for the 44 SAF for their heroic sacrifice.

“The nation honors the memory of our gallant SAF 44 whose heroism is constant reminder of the continuing sacrifice being made by our comrades in uniform. Let us not forget to pray for the eternal repose of their souls,  and always be reminded that our visions is strengthened by the sacrifice of our SAF 44 heroes in their quest for excellence to exemplify the real meaning of service honor and justice,” PRO-Cor Deputy Regional Director for Administration BGen. Lawrence Coop said in his message. 

Justice remains an elusive course, unserved to the grieving families of the SAF 44, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, during the 6th anniversary of the SAF 44 at  the SAF 44 Memorial Shrine in Camp John Hay, Baguio City on Jan. 25, 2021. Then  chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group that led the investigation of  the blotched Masasapano operation in 2015, he said officials serving the people and the country should never allow erring policy decisions to happen again.  

 In his keynote message, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong remembered the sacrifices of the SAF 44 and stressed that the incidents leading to the death of the SAF troopers should never happen again. The  SAF 44 should remind people that no one’s life deserves to be a useless sacrifice in the name of expediency. 

“In honor of the SAF 44, let everyone serving the people be reminded never to allow erring policy decisions to happen again. Let no foot soldiers ever serve as sacrifice at the needless expense of life itself. Never again should police operations be done in disregard of tried and tested coordination practices,” said Magalong  who headed  the investigation panel as then head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

“Para sa ati dito sa Baguio at sa Cordillera region, and araw na ito ay kailanman hindi makakalimutan. Labing apat sa SAF 44 ay mga taga-Cordillera na nagbuwis ng buhay bilang tugon sa tawag ng serbisyong kanilang sinumpaang gampanan sa abot ng kanilang makakaya, kahit na ang ialay ay ang kanilang buhay mapagsilbihan lamang ang bansang minamahal,” Magalong added.

The 14 SAF members from the Cordillera were PSI Gednat Tabdi of La Trinidad,PO2 Peterson Carap of Kabayan,  PO2 Jerry Kayob of La Trinidad and  PO2 Nobel Kiangan of Mankayan,  all of Benguet and  PO3 Noel Golocan of Mankayan , Benguet and Sagada, Mountain Province; PO1 Gringo Cayang-o of Sadanga, PO1 Angel Kodiamat of Bontoc, Mountain Province; PSI Cyrus Anniban of Balbalan and PO1 Russel Bilog of Tabuk City, Kalinga; PO3 Robert Allaga of Banaue, PO2 Franklin Danao of Tinoc, Ifugao,  and PO2 Joel Dulnuan of Kiangan, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya; PO2 Walner Danao of Irisan, Baguio City;  and PO2 Nicky De Castro Nacino Jr. of Baguio City and Aurora Province.

Meanwhile, Edna Tabdi,  the mother of Sr Inspector Tabdi, asked the fellow mothers and wives of the SAF not to forget the heroism of their sons and husbands and pass it on to their children and grandchildren.

“To all mothers of the SAF heroes, we still have the love of our children, I hope that we should pass on the memories of our heroes to our children and our grandchildren. And to the widows, I hope that your children that were left by your husbands should always live by the heroism of their fathers who sacrificed their lives for the country… they sacrificed their lives so that more will have better lives,” Tabdi said.

The commemoration program was capped by a wreath laying ceremony led by former PNP-SAF Director and now PNP Director for Intelligence PMGen Amando Clifton Empiso, PNP Director for Operations PMGen Alfred Corpus, PLt.Col. Melchor Buaquen,  PNP SAF 14SAB Commander,  PRO-Cor Regional Director PBGen. R’win Pagkalinawan, Mayor Magalong,  Manor Hotel Manager Ramon Cabera  and Mrs. Tabdi representing the SAF families,  

In Mankayan, the local government unit led by Mayor Frenzel Ayong with officials and reps from the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation, the Lepanto National High School, police officers from Mankayan and Buguias stations and family members of the SAF heroes also held a commemoration program to honor the three alumni of the LNHS who were among the SAF heroes. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR) 



Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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