(Photo courtesy of Mel Bergado)

MANILA -- Former President Fidel V. Ramos was the guest of honor and speaker at the inauguration of the Special Action Force Museum, SAF 44 Memorial and Black Beret Monument held in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig Metro Manila last Dec. 17.

Ramos founded the SAF when he was still the chief of the Philippine Constabulary (PC), now the Philippine National Police (PNP). He paid tribute to the 44 SAF troopers killed in a gun battle with Islamic terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, 2015.

He cited the bravery of the SAF troopers, who were outnumbered and pinned down during the fierce firefight that lasted for hours that also killed 18 of the terrorists, including Zulkifli Abdhir, a Malaysian terrorist bomb maker.

However, five innocent civilians were also killed in the crossfire.

As the founder of SAF, Ramos was shocked and saddened, when news broke out about the killing of 44 young SAF troopers.

Ramos, former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and later Defense Secretary before he was elected as the 12th President of the Philippines, organized the SAF as an elite force of the PC, trained to fight in the jungle and in urban areas.

Despite his age at 90, Ramos still has the stamina to play golf, visit friends, and attend social functions. His memory remains sharp as ever. (PNA)