By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday remembered the heroism of at least 100 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos who paid the ultimate price of offering their lives as they fought against the enemies of the state.
Acting Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Eduardo Ano served as the guest of honor and speaker during the PNP-SAF Memorial Day 2018 held at SAF Headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig.
Ano said commemorating the gallantry and discipline of the SAF warriors who were killed while fighting to ensure the country’s peace and order should serve as an example to the other cops, especially those who are being linked to various illegal activities.
Among those remembered were the SAF44, or those killed in a deadly encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in January 2015 that led to the neutralization of Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan; and the ones who were killed to liberate the Marawi City from the hands of Maute Terror Group in May 2017.
Ano could not help but recall the time when he was still the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Marawi City was still under siege.
“Everytime I visited the main battle area during my stint as chief of staff, I make sure that I had time to see all the units especially the PNP-SAF, the Marines, Our SOCOM (Special Operation Command) units and truly I saw for myself how brave, how gallant they fought to the point na even their wounded personnel refused to be evacuated,” Ano said.
“Walang kapaguran. Even if sabihin namin na it’s time for you to take a rest for a while, they would not accept that. They just want to finish the job and you can see in their blood that they are truly gallant warriors. We are proud of them,” he added.
A field mass was held followed by a wreath-laying ceremony. The ceremonial ringing of bell was also conducted — a sound each for the names of the slain SAF troopers.
While Ano believes that only a number of cops were involved in illegal activities, he hopes that they would veer away from committing crimes because their role is to serve and protect the country and the public, and not be a cause of shame.