VIRAC, CATANDUANES: Police Senior Insp. Max Jim Tria wanted an assignment in Mindanao as he vowed to fight lawless people so others may live peacefully.
The 27-year-old Tria is among the 44 members of the Philippine National Police–Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) who were brutally killed by rebels belonging to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the terrorist group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on January 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province.
Fondly called Macmac in his native land Catanduanes, Tria spent his last birthday on September 1 with his family in Virac but immediately returned to the war-torn Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) despite the protest and pleas of his loved ones.
In Olongapo City, thousands lined the streets as the remains of PO3 John Lloyd Sumbilla, a fallen SAF 44 member, was brought in a hearse from Morong, in Bataan province for the cremation rites here yesterday.
Students, government employees and private sector workers took the time out to witness for the last time their fallen hero as some offices suspended work during the hours that the funeral march was made.
In Morong town, Bataan province, Acting PNP-SAF Chief Noli Taliño said the morale of the officers and men of his unit remain high despite the loss of 44 members.
He also paid his last respects to the fallen Sumbilla yesterday.
In recalling the life of his son, Police Senior Insp. Guillermo Tria, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Internal Affairs Service of the Catanduanes Provincial Police Office, said he has asked Max Jim to give up his assignment in Mindanao and focus instead on getting a higher post in Catanduanes.
But Max Jim simply shrugged the idea off and expressed his desire to go back to the ARMM area and fight for peace. Max Jim belonged to the Kaisang-Bisig Class 2009 of the Philippine National Police Academy. He is the second son of Guillermo.
His batch mates or mistahs said Max Jim’s tour of duty in Mindanao was already over but the latter preferred to stay and accomplish its mission of going after terrorists and lawless members of the society.
Police Senior Insp. Sheena Sevilla Guzman, current chief of police of Canaman town in Camarines Sur, classmate and spokesperson of Kaisang-Bisig Class 2009 of the Philippine National Police Academy told The Manila Times that Max Jim is a man of courage, bravery, a fighter and intelligent although sometimes reserved.
She said Max Jim went through the Philippine Army’s Scout Ranger training before going through the PNP-SAF training.
Max Jim is part of the PNP-SAF blocking force that came under heavy fire while ensuring that the attacking PNP-SAF force, which killed terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir (also known as Marwan), are able to make an exit. Max Jim was the commando’s topnotch sniper.
Brigadier General Carlito Galvez, head of government’s coordinating committee on the cessation of hostilities said that Tria was the last man standing in the combat zone.
Tria’s 304 mistahs had their hairs shaved to signify their call for justice and respect for the SAF 44.
On Saturday, Tria’s body will be laid to rest in Virac.