CAMP OSCAR FLORENDO, La Union – President Aquino has approved the awarding of medals of heroism and valor to officers of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) slain in the Mamasapano encounter last year.

Two SAF members will be recipients of the Medal of Valor, the highest honor given to police officers for exceptional bravery above and beyond the demands of service.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ricardo Marquez said the medals would be handed to the families of the officers during the PNP’s 25th foundation anniversary at Camp Crame in Quezon City on

The 25th PNP anniversary coincided with the day the SAF 44 dedicated their lives for peace in our country, according to Marquez who was guest speaker Friday during the regional celebration of the PNP anniversary here.

Marquez said the President approved on Thursday the awarding of the highest honor to Senior Inspector Gednat Tabdi and PO2 Romeo Cempron for their heroic roles in the Mamasapano operation that resulted in the death of international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan on January 25, 2015.

Tabdi was the leader of Team 1 of the PNP 84th Special Action Company. Even when he was already wounded, Tabdi still led his team to accomplish its mission.

Cempron, on the other hand, was the lead gunner of the main effort of the 55th Special Action Company. When his fellow commandos were already dying, he sacrificed himself by serving as a human shield in order for survivor PO2 Christopher Lalan to move to safety.

Marquez said said that the other slain SAF officers will be awarded with Medalya ng Kabayanihan (Medal of Heroism).

He said all families of the SAF 44 have been invited to attend the ceremony to receive the medals that will be given by Aquino himself as the guest of honor and speaker. Jun Elias/northboundasia.com