PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has declared January 25 as the Day of National Remembrance for the heroic sacrifice of the 44 uniformed personnel of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF).
The Palace on Sunday announced the signing of Proclamation No. 164, which states: “The nation honors the memory of the SAF 44; their heroism is a constant reminder of the continuing sacrifices being made by our valiant uniformed men and women in line of duty.”
“I ask all our countrymen to remember the heroism of the SAF 44 and recall the daily sacrifices of our uniformed personnel for the sake of the continued peace and security of our nation,” the Proclamation added.
The SAF 44 went to the Mamasapano marsh in Maguindanao on January 25 to conduct a highly classified operation to arrest two high-value targets, alleged bomb makers Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir better known as Marwan and Fiipino Abdul Basit Usman.
Marwan was killed in the encounter. But the SAF 44 were killed after Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacked the SAF commandos, after which the government forces had a “misencounter” with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as they avoided BIFF territory.No backup force came to the aid of the beleaguered commandos because the Armed Forces on the ground were not informed of the operation ahead of time. The Aquino administration was also accused of letting the SAF men die so as not to jeopardize a peace deal with the MILF.