• Duterte posthumously awarded the remaining 42 SAF troopers with Medal of Valor
  • The ceremony was attended by the families of the police officers killed in the Mamasapano encounter in January 2015
  • Two of the 44 SAF troopers were already posthumously awarded during the Aquino administration

MANILA, Philippines  –  It took another administration for the remaining 42 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers who died in the Mamasapano encounter to receive the Philippine National Police (PNP) Medal of Valor award.

The commendation ceremony was held in Malacañang on Tuesday and was attended by officials from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the PNP.

No less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself conferred the award to the 42 SAF commando which was received by the surviving kin of the slain police officers.

“You know it comes late but better late than never. So I am not attributing anything to anybody except that I am happy that we are able to recognize today the bravery of our police officers,” said the President at the ceremony also attended by the families of the ‘Fallen 44’.

“We pay tribute to the gallant troopers from the Special Action Force who gave their lives in Mamasapano a few years ago. Their extraordinary display of bravery during that fateful operation does not just qualify them to receive this highly coveted decoration. It also makes them worthy to be called as heroes,” he added.

The President also assured the families that his government will pursue welfare assistance programs such as housing projects, scholarships and employment opportunities for their benefit.

“Most importantly, I assure you that we remain resolute in ensuring that justice —no matter how long it takes— will be served,” Duterte said.

Out of the 44 slain membes of the elite police unit, two of them – Police Chief Inspector Gednat Tabdi and Police Officer 2 Romeo Cempron – were already posthumously awarded during the Aquino administration.