Following exactly a year after the Mamasapano incident, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte honors today, January 25, the 44 slain commandos of the Special Action Force (SAF) during a ceremony held at the Provincial Capitol Ground.
The commemoration was attended by the kin of slain Ilocano SAF member PO3 Omar A. Nacionales, provincial police force, Muslim leaders as well as local officials and government employees.
In her speech, Governor Imee R. Marcos called for the Ilocanos to be inspired by the heroism of the fallen troopers as they sacrificed their lives to keep our country safe and secure.
“May this serve as an inspiration for greater good and even more glory that we serve selflessly and well throughout in the years to come,” she said.
The event included a wreath-laying ceremony with 44 flags representing the commandos raised in front of the Provincial Capitol since Saturday (January 23) in their honor.
On January 18, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Ilocos Norte also mandated all cities and municipalities in the province to put the Philippine flag at half-mast today through the Provincial Resolution No. 173-2016.
Meanwhile, emotions ran high as Mr. Dominador Nacionales, Omar’s father, delivered a short message in behalf of his family, expressing gratitude to the provincial government for its relentless support.
“For as long as the Nacionales’ bloodline lives on, we will never forget all the help that Governor Marcos had given us; and to the fellow comrades of my deceased son, I hope you continue to serve and protect Ilocos Norte and the rest of country,” he said tearfully in Ilocano.
Governor Marcos highlighted during a brief press conference following the honorary tribute that Omar’s family should also be considered as “bannuar ti amianan (heroes of the north).”
She recalled the strength of Omar’s mother, Florencia, last year as she faced the ordeal, citing the everyday struggle of the family in Brgy. Escoda in Marcos, Ilocos Norte.
“Tinatanong ko kay Mrs. Nacionales kung anong kailangan, may pwedeng iabuloy, sabi niya, hindi bale na raw yung pera, although of course nangangailangan, ang kailangan daw pampaaral at trabaho para sa mga anak,” said Governor Marcos.
Until today, the provincial government continues to support, Omar’s sister Aleta, through a full college scholarship and employment opportunity has already been provided to Hadji, the older brother of Omar, as he is currently working at Department of Public Works and Highways – Ilocos.
Vowing to further extend support to the family, Governor Marcos urged other government agencies in the province to do everything they could to help, especially the Local Government Unit of Marcos town.
Omar’s father, however, demanded that the national government has yet to deliver the aid it promised.
“I am not even sure anymore because I have been hearing that they [national government] have already fulfilled their obligations to the slain SAF troopers but we are still waiting,” he said in Ilocano.
Despite all of this, the Nacionales family finds solace for the support coming from various groups in the province.
“I sincerely feel that my family is not the only people who still cries justice for the death of my son and for the other fallen SAF troopers; even his comrades and the entire province still mourn,” cried Omar’s father, Dominador. (PGIN-CMO)