PGIN enjoins entire province to honor fallen SAF 44 on first anniversary of Mamasapano Clash


Jan. 21, 2016 ...

As tribute to the 44 slain members of the Philippine National Police–Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) will honor the fallen heroes this January 25, the first anniversary of the Mamasapano Clash.

The incident started as police operation "Oplan Exodus" which took place at Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao. While the objective had been to neutralize an international terrorist and other high-ranking members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), it led to the deaths of 44 members of SAF, thus was dubbed as the biggest loss of government elite force in history.

Governor Imee R. Marcos had earlier sought all-out justice for the victims, and said that the one-year anniversary tribute will begin with a commemorative mass and wreath-laying ceremony.

She added that the Philippine flag at the Provincial Capitol façade will be put to half-mast as a symbol of respect to the deaths of the 44 SAF members, especially for PO3 Omar A. Nacionales of Marcos, Ilocos Norte, who left behind a widow, PO2 Gae Ann Guiniling.

The ceremony is expected to be attended by Nacionales’ family, government officials, and military personnel from the province.

Provincial Resolution 173-2016, furnished after the 123rd Regular Session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on January 18, also enjoins all component cities and municipalities of Ilocos Norte to put the National Colors at half-mast on the said day "to honor and give dignity to the forty-four members of the SAF who sacrificed their dreams and aspirations in the name of democracy."

Since the national tragedy, Nacionales' family received financial assistance from the National Government totaling to an estimated Php274,000.000, as well as a scholarship granted by the Provincial Government through Governor Marcos to Nacionales’ sister, Aleta.

She recalled through a phone interview that it was her late brother's wish to see her studying again, and she is presently in her second year of college taking up a business-related degree.

Meanwhile, Guiniling shared that she still grieves the death of her husband but finds renewed hope with the reopening of the case, saying, "I firmly believe in due process, and I hope and pray that it will lead us to the justice we have all been waiting for."