Two Ilocano SAF commandos are “modern-day living heroes”

Gov. Imee R. Marcos has declared PNP SAF commandos SPO1 Allan Lampitoc Franco and PO2 Jovalyn Lozano as Ilocano “living heroes”, two of the survivors in the Mamasapano bloody encounter in Maguindanao last January 25, 2015.

Franco and Lozano, together with their families, were present at unveiling rites for second batch of Ilocano Heroes Walk at the Sirib Mile, Laoag City on March 10.

In her remarks, Gov. Marcos said SAF trooper Omar Nacionales died as hero in the Mamasapano firefight while survivors SPO1 Franco and PO2 Lozano exemplified the modern-day living heroes.

Nacionales, Franco and Lozano were part of the SAF assault team on a mission to capture Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists and Abu Sayyaf member Abdul Bassit Usman.

“Sa SAF, mga Ilocano ang inaasahan, tayo ang walang kaba sa dibdib kapag nasa operasyon,” PO2 Lozano spoke before the crowd at Sirib Mile. He joined PNP-SAF in 2008.

SPO1 Franco enlisted as PNP-SAF trooper in 2003. He also spoke in Ilocano and noted “the courage and bravery of fellow Ilocano comrades in all their dangerous police operations.
SPO1 Franco, 36, said his family hails from Banna, Ilocos Norte. He last visited the province 12 years ago. He was born in South Cotabato where his kin migrated as road-bridge-and-Bliss housing project builders during the Marcos regime. He considers Ilocos Norte his hometown as he grew up in Banna and helped his folks in the farm.

After joining the police service, he served as instructor at SAF Training School in 2008 and 2009.

PO2 Lozano recalled his upland hometown Adams and said “lumaki ako doon, naghirap ako doon, lahat ng experience ko sa Adams, yun ang taglay at baon ko sa lahat ng operations na pinupuntahan ko.”

Lozano still nurses a left shoulder wound hit by bomb explosion shrapnel during the Mamasapano encounter. He also fought during the Nur Misuari-instigated Zamboanga siege.

SPO1 Franco and PO2 Lozano expressed their profound gratitude to the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte for the great honors bestowed to them.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Ilocos Norte chaired by Vice Gov. Angelo Marcos Barba had passed a resolution of commendation for Franco and Lozano.

Both received cash incentives too from the provincial government. Any one of their relatives who are currently residing in Ilocos Norte will be granted a full-scholarship at Mariano Marcos State University.(pgin-cmo)