MLANG, Cotabato - (www.gmanews.tv) Mlang Mayor Joselito Pinol on Monday urged all his constituents to observe a 12-day mourning period to condole with the bereaved families of the Special Action Force (SAF) members who were killed in a clash on Sunday.
The SAF members died in a clash with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao. The MILF claimed their men acted in self-defense.
Forty-three police officers died in the clash and one remains missing, the Philippine National Police said Monday.
In his Executive Order 01 issued Monday morning, Mayor Pinol also urged all public offices as well as private entities in the town to lower the Philippine flag in half mast as a sign of respect and honor for the fallen police officers.
“Let us show our deepest sympathy to the respective family of our police whom we consider heroes in our modern time,” Mayor Pinol said.
Pinol also instructed that the Philippine flags in front of the town’s 40 village halls and in the town hall and in public and private schools in Mlang be lowered at half-mast.
“While we lambasted our police officers and their men when they got wrong in relation to their work, it is also high time to honor them dying in search for peace and security for our beloved Mindanao and Philippines as well,” Pinol said.
Elected local officials and the town’s employees observed a minute of silence Monday as a tribute to the police officials and their men who lost their lives in the Mamasapano clash.
Meantime, Police Senior Inspector Jenahmeel Tonacao, the PNP officer-in-charge in Mlang, was saddened and wept upon knowing that three of his classmates were among those brutally killed.
Tonacao identified his three fallen classmates as Police Senior Inspector Gednat Tabdi, Police Senior Inspector Garamnbas Tria and Police Senior Inspector John Garry Erana.
Tonacao and these three fallen police officers are graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) in 2009.
Tonacao described the three as valiant police officers who wanted to be assigned in Mindanao to restore peace and order in the area.
“I was really in tears hearing the news. I am not expecting that despite being trained and equipped with various combat training they will be gone untimely,” Tonacao told this writer in a phone interview. —KG, GMA News