Zambo lights candles for 44 fallen heroes PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 31 January 2015 12:01

Candles lit up the City Hall grounds as Zamboangueños, garbed in white, converged on Thursday to remember their heroes, the 44 men of the Philippine National Police - Special Action Forces (PNP-SAF) who died in a clash with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters (BIFF) at Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

In fitting ceremonies, Mayor BengClimaco led the city in a candle lighting service to honor and remember the fallen PNP-SAF members as well as the two casualties of the Guiwan explosion Thursday night at the City Hall frontage.

The event was preceded by a holy mass spearheaded by the Archdiocese of Zamboanga and the Philippine National Police at the Fort Pilar shrine.

“Tan junto kita con el entero nacion para este ofrecimiento de reso para na maga ya despe, hende lang na bomba [Guiwan explosion] queya socede y con el 44 [PNP-SAF] ya despidi,” said Climaco, who likewise extended her sympathies and prayers to the bereaved families.

The mass and memorial ceremonies demonstrated Zamboanga’s deep respect for the police and soldiers of the armed forces, especially the PNP-SAF whose men and women were among those who served as the city’s heroes and defenders during the siege of 2013.

“The city is also grieving because the SAF came to the city in the moment of our need,” said the mayor.

“We want the people of Zamboanga to know of their heroism and we offer our prayers to them,” she added.

Five of the 44 SAF members killed in action hailed from Zamboanga. They are: PO2 Amman Misuari Esmula of Kingdom Village, Pitogo, Barangay Sinunuc; Sr. Insp. Ryan Ballesteros Pabalinas of Barangay Guiwan; PO3 Jed-in Abubakar Asjali of Barangay Sta. Barbara; Insp. Joey Sacristan Gamutan of Blk 05, Village, San Jose Gusu and; PO2 Glenn Berecio Bedua of Good Shepherd Village, Upper Calarian.

Present during the ceremonies were members of the PNP-SAF, the Zamboanga City Police Office and Task Force Zamboanga, local officials and representatives of national agencies, the academe, students and residents from all walks of life.

Earlier in the day, the Inter-Faith Council of Zamboanga issued its statement condemning the bombing in Guiwan and the violence resulting in the death of the 44 SAF commandos.

The statement also called for “speedy justice, tempered with compassion and dialogue as the future of our children in Mindanao is at stake”. — Jasmine Mohammadsali