SAF 44 commemoration in Ilagan City. (PNP-Ilagan City)

By Villamor Visaya Jr., Philippine News Agency Stringer and Philippine Daily Inquirer Correspondent

TUGUEGARAO CITY — The heroism of the 44 fallen members of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police was remembered by their police comrades in Cagayan Valley during the seventh anniversary of the Mamasapano encounter on Tuesday, Jan. 25.

Lt. Col. Efren Fernandez II, Cagayan Valley police spokesperson, told the Inquirer that they paid tribute to the SAF 44 heroes through prayers and wreath-laying ceremonies in various police stations in the region.

“Their gallantry is not only remembered and commemorated, but it is also taken as an inspiration by the Philippine National Police to keep the fire of heroism burning,” Fernandez added.

Six scout rangers from Cagayan Valley were among the slain SAF 44 during the botched mission to capture a Malaysian bomber in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao province on Jan. 25, 2015. They were PO2 Loreto Capinding, SPO1 Rodrigo Acob, and SPO1 Andres Duque, all of Isabela; PO2 Joel Dulnuan of Nueva Vizcaya; and PO2 Olibeth Viernes and SPO1 Richelle Baluga of Cagayan.

Their kin also joined the commemoration by offering Masses and saying prayers.#