PNP launches int’l marathon to commemorate death of SAF 44

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

April 5, 2024, 9:18 am

<p><em>(Infographic courtesy of PNP)</em></p>

(Infographic courtesy of PNP)

SUBIC, Olangapo City – About 500 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) will join the Subic International Marathon (SIM) in February 2025 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Mamasapano massacre of the SAF 44.

At the launch of the program at Riviera Grand at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) in Olongapo City on Thursday, SAF chief Maj. Gen. Bernard Banac said the program, with the theme “I run for my heroes,” is “the best way to remember the heroism of SAF 44.”

Banac said the SIM, which began in 2005, would run for a week beginning Jan. 25, 2025.

He added that the event is not only to honor the SAF 44 but all other modern-day heroes who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the country.

In 2017, former president Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation 164, declaring Jan. 25 of every year as a day of national remembrance for the heroic sacrifice of the SAF 44.

The Mamasapano massacre that killed 44 members of SAF was the result of a botched operation to arrest international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, and local terrorist Basit Usman in Tukanalipao village on Jan. 25, 2015.

“We know the SIM started as an advocacy way back in 2005 and we held the first marathon. It was for the transformation of our police, community, and our nation, and with that, we were talking about our heroes as early as that time. We believe that this is the best way to remember the heroism of our SAF troopers and the entire PNP and also the whole nation,” Banac said.

“We will highlight all heroes and we are just thankful for the opportunity that we can celebrate and commemorate the heroism of our heroes by having an international marathon to be held here in Subic.”

The theme, he said, would resonate deeply with participants and the community by tapping into the universal desire to honor and pay tribute to those who have influenced and inspired people.

“It provides a powerful opportunity for individuals to connect, share their stories, and unite around a common cause,” he added.

SBMA Chairman Eduardo Aliño, meanwhile, said the agency is excited to host the international marathon, which is expected to draw both local and foreign runners.

“As this event unfolds I encourage everyone to embrace the spirit of teamwork and collaboration to overcome challenges that may come our way. To exceed expectations and leave a lasting legacy to be remembered in the hearts and minds of the participants,” Aliño said.

Jan Layug of Extribe, the organizer of the event, said they would make significant enhancements, including improved course management and awards, upgraded amenities, and expanded entertainment options.

The event features a spectacular 42-km. scenic course confined within the boundaries of the Subic Bay Freeport Complex.

Corollary events include a 21-km. half-marathon. (PNA)