Published: Wednesday 18 April, 2018

Duterte Bestows Posthumous Medal of Valor to 42 SAF Troopers of Mamasapano

Three years after their tragic death in Mamasapano, 42 SAF Troopers finally receive the highest honor in the Philippine National Police (PNP). The SAF  troopers were conferred posthumous Medal of Valor by President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang on Tuesday. Two other SAF troopers were earlier given Medal of Valor during the Aquino administration.

Family members of the slain SAF troopers were all present to receive the distinction from President Duterte. Aside from the Medal of Valor, all 44 SAF heroes were also conferred posthumous Order of Lapu-Lapu (Magalong Medal) awards.

In his speech, Duterte paid tribute to the bravery of the fallen troops, who were ambushed in Mamasapano by joint forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) as they tried to neutralize Malaysian bomb maker Marwan.

“Their extraordinary display of bravery during that fateful operation does not just qualify them to receive this highly-coveted decoration. It also makes them worthy to be called as heroes,” said the president, who added that the death of the 44 elite police forces was probably one of the darkest and saddest moments of our history.

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“Yet, this sad episode just proved that [through their] commitment to their sworn duty to protect our nation from terror and violence, they have successfully neutralized one of the world’s most wanted terrorists.”

“Indeed, the SAF 44 is not only a group of dedicated, capable and commendable police officers. They are also individuals worthy of emulation and admiration.”

According to the PNP, the Medal of Valor “is awarded to any member of the Philippine National Police who have performed in action a deed of personal bravery and self-sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty so conspicuous as to distinguish himself clearly above his comrades in the performance of more than ordinary hazardous service. This award may be given only if the enemy force is so overwhelming as compared to the government troops.”

Meanwhile, the Order of Lapu Lapu is “awarded to officials and personnel of the government and private individuals who have rendered extraordinary service or have made exceptional contributions to the success of an activity pursuant to a campaign or advocacy of the President.”

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SAF 44

The 42 SAF troopers given Medals of Valor were Chief Inspectors Ryan Pabalinas, Max Jim Tria, John Garry Erana, Cyrus Anniban and Ryan Pabalinas; Senior Inspectors Joey Gamutan and Rennie Lumasag Tayrus; SPO2 Lover Ladao Inocencio; SPO1 Rodrigo Fernandez Acob Jr., Vergel Serion Villanueva, Noel Onangey Golocan, Andres Duque Jr., Junrel Kibete, Victoriano Acain Jr., Robert Allaga, Jedz-in Asjali, John Lloyd Sumbilla, PO3 Amman Esmula, Romeo Senin II, Chum Agabon, Glenn Bedua, Richelle Baluga, Noel Balaca Jr., Joel Dulnuan, Walner Danao, Godofredo Cabanlet, Franklin Danao, Jerry Kayob, Noble Kiangan, Ephraim Mejia, Omar Nacionales, Rodel Ramacula, Roger Cordero, Peterson Indongsan Carap, and Nicky de Castro Nacino Jr; and PO2 Russel Bilog, Windel Candano, Loreto Capinding II, Gringo Cayang-o, Mark Lory Clemencio, Joseph Sagonoy, Oliebeth Viernes, and Angel Chocowen Kodiamat.

Police Chief Inspector Gednat Tabdi and Police Officer 2 Romeo Cempron already posthumously received the award from President Noynoy Aquino.