The heroism of the 44 members of the elite Special Action Force (SAF), collectively called the "SAF 44", of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is a story that should be retold to future generations.
Among the 44 fallen SAF troopers are the Gallant 14, fourteen sons of the Cordilleras who valiantly made the ultimate sacrifice.
The SAF 44 were among the 392 elite cops who infiltrated the town of Mamasapano in Maguindanao on January 25, 2015, an area known to be controlled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). "Operation Wolverine", their mission is to arrest two Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists - Malaysian bomb-maker Zulkifli bin Hir known as "Marwan" and Abdulbasit Usman.
Marwan was tagged as responsible for training Filipinos in urban terrorism and making improvised explosive devices, which were later used in a series of bomb attacks, particularly in Mindanao.
In his eulogy at the necrological service organized by the Police Regional Office Cordillera (PRO-Cor) at Camp Bado Dangwa in La Trinidad, Benguet, the commander of the SAF Benguet Provincial Police Safety Company asked for justice for his fallen comrades.
"It runs in the blood of Igorots to defend our land and freedom. We will fight until the last breath and die with honor in the name of service... This tragedy should not happen again," Police Superintendent Jonathan Calixto said.
List of 14 fallen Cordillerans PNP-SAF Troopers:
1. PO2 Peterson Indongsan Carap of Kabayan, Benguet
2. PO1 Gringo Charag Cayang-o of Sadanga, Mountain Province
3. PO1 Angel Chocowen Kodiamat of Bontoc, Mountain Province
4. PO2 Jerry Kayob of La Trinidad, Benguet
5. PO2 Noble Sungay Kiangan of Mankayan, Benguet
6. PO3 Noel Onangey Golocan of Mankayan, Benguet, and Sagada, Mountain Province
7. PO2 Walner Faustino Danao of Irisan, Baguio City
8. PSINP Gednat Garambas Tabdi of La Trinidad, Benguet
9. PSINP Cyrus Paleyan Anniban of Balbalan, Kalinga
10. PO3 Robert Domollog Allaga of Banaue, Ifugao
11. PO2 Franklin Cadap Danao of Tinoc, Ifugao
12. PO2 Nicky De Castro Nacino Jr. of Baguio City and Aurora Province
13. PO1 Russel Bawaan Bilog of Tabuk City, Kalinga, and Sagada, Mountain Province
14. P02 Joel Bumidang Dulnuan
Every January 25th of the year is set as a "National Day of Remembrance" to honor the heroic sacrifice of the forty-four fallen members of the Special Forces of Action, of which 14 of them are Cordilleran.