Homecoming: PNP Cordillera honors 13 fallen SAF troopers
BENGUET, Philippines – The sunny day failed to warm the chilly winds that blew as the caskets of 7 slain Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) troopers arrived at Camp Bado Dangwa in La Trinidad town for the necrological service organized by regional police on Saturday, January 31.
The remains of the fallen officers, part of the team collectively called the "SAF 44" traveled a long way – from Maguindanao where they lost their lives in a clash with Moro rebels on January 25, to Manila where they had a brief stop on January 29, to their home province, the Cordillera Administrative Region, two days later.
In his eulogy at the necrological service organized by the Police Regional Office Cordillera (PRO-Cor), the commandant of SAF Benguet Provincial Police Safety Company called for justice for his fallen comrades.
“It runs in the blood of Igorots to defend our land and freedom. We will fight until the last breath and die with honor in the name of service,” Police Superintendent Jonathan Calixto said.
“This tragedy should not happen again,” he added.
Relatives, friends, sympathizers, and fellow police officers waited for the return of the sons of Cordillera, home to the Igorot indigenous people.
About 65% of the members of the elite SAF are from the Cordillera region.
Only 7 of the 13 cops were brought to Camp Dangwa for the service:
- PO2 Peterson Carap of Kabayan, Benguet
- PO1 Gringo Cayang-o of Sadanga, Mountain Province
- PO1 Angel Kodiamat of Bontoc, Mountain Province
- PO2 Jerry Kayob of La Trinidad, Benguet
- PO2 Nobel Kiangan of Mankayan, Benguet
- PO3 Noel Golocan of Mankayan, Benguet, and Sagada, Mountain Province
- PO2 Walner Danao of Irisan, Baguio City
The other 6 were brought home by their families after the moving Camp Bagong Diwa necrological service on Friday, January 30:
- Senior Inspector Gednat Tabdi of La Trinidad, Benguet
- PSI Cyrus Anniban of Balbalan, Kalinga
- PO3 Robert Allaga of Banaue, Ifugao
- PO2 Franklin Danao of Tinoc, Ifugao
- PO2 Nicky De Castro Nacino Jr. of Baguio City and Aurora Province
- PO1 Russel Bilog of Tabuk City, Kalinga and Sagada, Mountain Province
They were among the 392 elite cops who entered the Mamasapano town in Maguindanao on January 25 to arrest two Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists - Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir known as "Marwan” and Abdulbasit Usman. The area is known to be controlled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Of the 392, 44 were killed in the clash. (READ: The SAF 44: Our sons, our heroes)
Officials of Baguio City and Benguet province also attended the services. They distributed certificates of recognition and financial assistance to the families of the fallen cops.
After the Mass, PNP Cordillera marched in unity, calling for justice and peace. – Rappler.com