REMEMBERING SAF 44. Personnel and officials of the Police Regional Office in Northern Mindanao Region on Wednesday (Jan. 25, 2023) commemorate the 44 troops of the Police Special Action Force (SAF) who died in an encounter against militants in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao province, eight years ago. Joining the commemoration are families of the fallen SAF troopers who are based in Cagayan de Oro City, as well as families of other police officers killed in the line of duty. (Video screenshot courtesy of PRO-10)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Police Regional Office in Northern Mindanao (PRO-10) commemorated Wednesday the 8th death anniversary of the 44 troopers of the Special Action Force (SAF) and other police officers killed in the line of duty.

Major Gen. Eliseo Cruz, the Philippine National Police director for investigation and detection management, said police officers killed in other operations must also be honored in the same way the SAF 44 sacrificed their lives.

"They sacrificed their lives while selflessly serving the warrants of arrests, search warrants, and in (illegal drugs) buy-bust operations and other police operations," Cruz said during the ceremony at the PRO-10 headquarters here.

Cruz also offered his condolences to the families of police officers killed while performing their duties, even as he also called on the police personnel present to "emulate the bravery" of their fallen colleagues.

During the wreath-laying ceremony, the families of fallen SAF-44 members PO2 Godofredo Cabanlet, PO2 Chum Agabon, and PO2 Romeo Senin II were present.

Agabon and Senin both hailed from Iligan City, while Cabanlet was a native of Lanao del Norte. They were killed in action eight years ago in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao province under the "Oplan Exodus" to neutralize armed militants.

Meanwhile, the family members of PSMS Raul Vacal also joined the commemoration.

Vacal, an investigating officer of the Iligan City Police Office Station 4, was killed in June 2022 when unidentified assailants aboard a motorcycle stopped and shot him at close range.  (PNA)