Medal of valor eyed for 42 SAF troopers
The National Police Commission said Tuesday it had recommended to President Duterte that 42 members of the police Special Action Force (SAF) who were killed in a clash with Muslim rebels in the southern town of Mamasapano two years ago be awarded the force’s highest award for bravery.
“Despite being outnumbered, the 44 SAF commandos exhibited conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their lives above and beyond the call of duty which resulted in the successful neutralization of (alleged terrorists) Zulkifli bin Hir aka Marwan and Basit Usman,” the Napolcom said in a statement.
The Medal of Valor is awarded to anyone who has “performed in action a deed of personal bravery and self-sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty” and granted only to anyone who faced an overwhelming enemy force.
The recommendation was contained in Resolution No. 2017-077 dated Jan. 23, approved by the commission, which exercises administrative control and supervision over the national police and is chaired by Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno.
Two of the slain commandos, Senior Insp. Gednat Tabdi and PO2 Romeo Cempron, were earlier bestowed the Medal of Valor. The other 42 SAF commandos were given the PNP Distinguished Conduct Medal (Medalya ng Kabayanihan) on Nov. 25, 2015.
The SAF forces were deployed for Oplan Exodus in January 2015 the operation to arrest Marwan and Usman, known bomb makers wanted for a string of deadly terrorist attacks. However, they encountered members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and private armed groups.
Tabdi, who led the 84th SAC, and Cempron, a medic of the 55th, died while attending to PO2 Christopher Lalan, the lone survivor in the attack.
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