Civil society, police join hands to mourn Maguindanao carnage
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, Philippines–Bells of the Saint Gregory the Great Cathedral, the seat of the Diocese of Legazpi, rang at dawn Wednesday, marking the start of a Holy Mass offered for the 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) who perished in an encounter with Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels on Sunday in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao.
Civilian and military officials based in Albay trooped to the cathedral to pray for their slain comrades and to offer their sympathies to the families of the fallen policemen during the 5:30 a.m. Mass officiated by Fr. Nick Bilono.
At the provincial capitol here, a black streamer was hung, extolling the moral courage and dedication of the lawmen who died and expressing solidarity with the policemen’s grieving families.
Chief Supt. Victor Deona, Bicol police director, directed all PNP headquarters across the region to place their flags at half-mast as an expression of sorrow for their fallen comrades.
Having served for a long time as head of operations of the PNP prior to his appointment as PNP-Bicol chief, Deona said he was deeply saddened by the Maguindanao bloodbath.
“During that time I personally witnessed and felt how it was to lose companions who died in the line of duty to the country,” he said.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda enjoined all local government units, national agencies and schools in the province to raise their flags at half-mast for the rest of the weekdays “to express sorrow for losing brave men who served the nation.”
He also directed all provincial heads of offices and staff to observe a two-minute silent prayer at the start of office hours to honor the dead.
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