Prelate: ‘Fallen 44 point to peace’

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PALO, Leyte, Feb. 3, 2015 -– If they should be remembered for one thing, the SAF44 should bring to mind the urgency of finding better ways to peace in Mindanao, said a prelate during a Mass celebrated in memory of the forty-four members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) who were killed in a clash with rebel groups in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25.

“The heroes of Mamasapano may be gone before the eyes of this world, but their legacy of courage remains in our hearts and minds in order to inspire us and make us build communities founded in love, in unity and in mutual respect,” said Palo Archbishop John Du during a requiem Mass for three of the 44 fallen police officers held recently at the Regional Office of the PNP in Camp Ruperto Kangleon.

Flags are flown at half-mast at the Halls of Justice across the country, such as at the Regional Trial Court in Tacloban City, to honor the PNP-SAF members recently killed in a clash with the MILF and BIFF. (Photo: Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros)

Right to live without fear

“[Their death is a] signal for all of us to find more effective ways to peace, and to defend with more eagerness our right to live without fear,” he noted.

According to the prelate, “the Heroes of Mamasapano have fallen like that precious ‘grain of wheat’ Jesus speaks of.”

He added: “The 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force are honored by the whole country because of their courage. And their courage has made them face even the fear of dying any moment during that night because they believed that courage was all they had in order to stand for the greater good they wanted to serve.”

Although all the fallen cops were hailed by the Filipinos as heroes, Du agreed with Col. Danilo Pamonag of the Philippine Army’s public address, that the men and women in uniform, the Filipino soldiers, the policemen and policewomen, “don’t claim to be fearless”, but that they “can only stand courageous.”

Commended to God

“We are mourning the death of modern-day ‘heroes’. And heroes are not fearless people. Although courageous, heroes are men or women who also have a fear of one thing. Heroes fear they might not be giving enough even if it is already their best,” the prelate explained.

Du also called on the faithful to commend to God the souls of the policemen who died in said tragic incident in Mamasapano.

Finally, the prelate in consoling the bereaved loved ones of the dead SAF members uttered these Biblical words: “The hour has come for our brothers to leave this life. They have done their best in the race, they have run the full distance, and they have kept the faith.” (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCPNews)

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