Issue of November 5, 2017

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Morale of SAF troopers still up despite events in Marawi
by Ofelia C. Empian

Despite the number of wounded and casualties of the war in Marawi, the morale of the Special Action Force is still high.

“Despite what happened mataas pa rin ang morale namin dahil sa leadership ng aming director na Cordilleran din from Mountain Province, si Police Director Benjamin Macliing Lusad,” said SAF spokesperson Insp. Jonalyn Butic-Malnat.

Malnat, who represented Lusad, was in the region recently and received the commendation for the heroism and gallantry of the SAF from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples-Cordillera during the closing ceremony of the Indigenous Peoples Month celebration last week.

Malnat said three of the four SAF troopers who perished in Marawi are Cordillerans and 25 of the 60 wounded troopers are also from the region.

The event highlighted the culture of gallantry and caring of the Cordillera community in the face of adversaries embodied by the SAF troopers and other police men and women from the region who helped win the war against terrorism in Marawi.

Malnat, who hails from Ifugao, said some of the wounded personnel are already recuperating while some went back to their families. 

Iyong mga minor ang injury okay na sila at nakabalik na pero marami sa kanila, after being treated of their wounds they went back to the front line. Ganoon katapang ang ating mga (kababayan),” she said.

She said about 500 SAF troopers were deployed during the Marawi siege and 70 percent of them came from the region.

She said 50 percent of the SAF population are Cordillerans.

Lusad and Deputy Director C/Supt. Dennis Lingat Basngi are from the region.

Although some of the SAF troopers have availed of vacation leave, she said some of them are on standby as the SAF will still be deployed during the upcoming 31st ASEAN Summit this month. 

“In behalf of Director Lusad, Deputy Director Basngi, the whole SAF, and the families of the wounded and fallen gallant troopers, we are thankful for all the help, including the NCIP for the award. We are thankful that you are honoring the heroism and gallantry not only of the SAF, but all the men and women in the police service as well. Thank you is all we can say,” she said.

The eight accounted fallen Cordilleran troopers are P/SInsp. Freddie Manuel Solar of Baguio City (Philippine National Police); Corporal Benito Serrano of Conner, Apayao (Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine Army); Private First Class Gener Tinangag of Barlig, Mountain Province (AFP-PA); PO3 Alexis Mangaldan of Bangued, Abra (PNP-SAF); PO1 Moises Kimayong Jr. of Lagawe, Ifugao (PNP-SAF); Scout Ranger Corporal Nelson Lasang Wailan of Tabuk City, Kalinga (AFP-PA); PO2 Daniel Tegwa of Bauko, Mountain Province (PNP-SAF); and Scout Ranger Jethro Estacio from Ifugao.

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