Ilocanos to remember Mamasapano clash, honor 44 fallen SAF members

LAOAG CITY – Ilocanos in this northern part of Luzon are set to commemorate the gallantry of the 44 slain members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) on January 25, the second anniversary of the Mamasapano clash.

In a memorandum dated January 23 addressed to all national government agencies and department heads and employees of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, Miriam Ranchez, Supervising Administrative Officer under the Office of the Governor, has enjoined all parties concerned to attend a flag raising ceremony and simple rites of commemoration in front of the Capitol on Wednesday.

Of the 44 fallen SAF troopers who joined “Oplan Exodus” in Tukanalipao village, Mamasapano, Maguindanao, majority were Ilocanos including Police Officer 3 Omar Nacionales, a native of Marcos, Ilocos Norte.

The operation was meant to neutralize international terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir and other members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Unfortunately, the clash ended with the tragic deaths of the 44 commandos on January 25, 2015, the biggest loss of government elite forces in Philippine history.

For the past two years since the incident, families of the victims have been seeking justice for their loved ones.

As a former member of the PNP SAF, Provincial Director Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr. of the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office said the fallen SAF 44 will forever be remembered for their heroism and supreme sacrifice for the country and the people they served.

It may be recalled that in October 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte met with the family of Nacionales as well as widows of slain police officers in the province who had fallen due to an intensified campaign on illegal drugs.

The President assured them his administration was committed to providing them with financial assistance. PNA –