29th January 2015. It was the saddest, most painful welcome to a homecoming. Together with the grieving families and friends, my husband and I watched as one by one the remains of 42 of the fallen SAF44 were brought to the multi-purpose hall in Camp Bagong Diwa. Attached to each coffin is a number. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…30…40… It was hard to believe that behind each number is a life lost. It was even harder to accept that some of the lives lost were our friends’.

“How could we have lost so much lives in an encounter that should never have happened?” I asked my husband. There was nothing but silence on his part…and I understand. He was grieving; he was angry. Three of the men killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao were my husband’s classmates in the Philippine National Police Academy.

#Fallen44
“It ok. Daddy’s friends are in Jesus’ house now,” our three-year old told me when she saw me in tears.

These are three young and very promising men. PSI Erana is their class baron. He was a nice man who was a friend to everyone. “Di nga marunong mag take-life yan,” one of their classmates joked as we recalled our memories of the fallen. Arjay said he wouldn’t be surprised if Erana rose to be the Chief of Police one day.

READ: SAF trooper: ‘This country is not worth dying for if our government cannot protect its warriors. We also need the government’s protection.’

Tabdi is known to be a quiet person and a loving husband. Tria, on the other hand, was known to have tiger-like bravery. In fact, reports say that he could have been the last man standing on that fateful day. My memory of him, however, was when I joked about how vain he is after seeing his photos in their yearbook. While his classmates shared photos of their loved ones in their spread, his was full of his own. Hehe!

saf44-edited

We have so many good memories of these guys. I’m sure the families and friends of the other members of the PNP-SAF who sacrificed their lives for our normalcy also have numerous good memories to share. They were sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers. To see them inside a box, lifeless, was a painful sight. They could have done so much more for our country.

Although they left us so soon to be with our Creator, the short time they spent with us will always be remembered. I salute them for their bravery. I thank them for their sacrifice. I thank them for reminding us who were left behind to treasure the time we have with our loved ones.

To their families, know that we are your family, too. We are grieving with you and we will be here for you even after news about this tragedy fades.

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

–John Donne

About Admin

Kimberley Reyes is a fire wife and mom. She provides virtual support for women entrepreneurs and bloggers and writes about finding the right balance between homemaking and working in freedom.

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22 Comments

  1. It was indeed a sad day and such a loss of life and spirit. May they find peace wherever they are now.

  2. My heart goes out to the families of the 44 SAF who gave their lives to their country. Parying for justice to be served.

  3. Everyone is still grieving with the loss of the fallen 44, even though I don’t know them personally I can help but to cry watching over the news. I can feel the sadness of their families and the anger for our government. Hope that justice will be serve they deserve it

  4. Justice for the fallen 44. They should really be considered as brave heroes of the Philippines today. They will be included in my prayers. God bless them. May they Rest in Peace.

  5. We join you in honoring these 44 heroes. I think we really should let the bravery and heroism that they gave for the country live on. In the school where I teach, we have set up a mini-exhibit to honor these men and say a little prayer that they may rest in peace and their loved ones be comforted here on earth.

  6. We join you in honoring these 44 heroes. I think we really should let the bravery and heroism that they gave for the country live on. In the school where I teach, we have set up a mini-exhibit to honor these men and say a little prayer that they may rest in peace and their loved ones be comforted here on earth.

  7. There is so much pain and anger when the Mamasapano incident happened. I may not know these heroes personally but I’m really glad that there are still individuals who are willing to risk their lives for the country. Really brave warriors and I do hope justice will be served.

  8. This is very heartfelt. I know a lot of us are grieving together with the families of the Fallen. I pray that justice be brought forth and that God bless the families.

  9. Thank you for sharing a more personal note about the fallen men of our country. Reading this, I now understand better the pain that the families felt with the loss, as for me it is much easier to mourn for someone who I know at least a little more something about aside from their names. I hope that they all find their peace now with the Creator.

  10. Sadness also hovers around me because of this tragic event. I am speechless and just hoping for justice very soon. -Macy Santos

  11. News about them always cause my tears to fall, even if I don’t know them personally. It’s just so heartbreaking!
    “Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men..” — yes, slave to desperate men…

  12. Can’t help but tear up while reading your post. It hurts even just to think about it but what hurts even more for me is that their commander-in-chief won’t take responsibility of what happened. Di nila deserve ang ganung pinuno!

    1. As one SAF trooper said, “This country is not worth dying for kung ang gobyerno natin di kayang protektahan kaming mga warriors.” I don’t blame him at all for saying that after all the has been said and done after this tragic incident.

  13. its nice to read a more personal point of view on the topic. these men deserve justice and the way the govt is currently handling things infuriates me. these men shouldn’t die in vain and just be forgotten.

    1. Our only promise to our friends now is that even if everyone forgets about them, we will never forget. We have turned their lives into a story of brotherhood and bravery that we tell our little ones. At least in our household, they will live on.

  14. Justice for our #fallenheroes! Very touching post.

  15. This is always in the news and there are times that I don’t want to watch it anymore, ang sakit kasi sa puso, how much more if I’m related to these people. I salute them for their courage and bravery and I’m thankful for their sacrifices.

  16. Ang sakit sa puso nitong pangyayari na to. Nakakaasar lang! Hay. I’ve been mourning silently since I first read about the incident and every family member I bump into here in Winnipeg I ask, ”have you heard what happened in the Philippines lately?” sobrang affected ako! hay. I hope truth will rise up soon

    1. It really is a painful thing. We, their friends, are hurt—what more yung mga naiwan na kapamilya. Denise, a friend of hers, and I are planning something for the families. We’ll let you know pag plantsado na para makatulong. :)

  17. Thank you for sharing pieces of your memories with them with us, Kim. These made me smile. I also read that article about Tria, too. I don’t doubt his bravery or the bravery of all of these men, including the survivors. Salute! May truth and justice prevail!

    1. When my husband asked me to write something about the 44 SAF troopers, I initially wanted to let out all my anger. But there’s so much blame going around already, which is why I decided to just focus on the good memories they left us. Masyado nang negative eh kaya yung mga masaya naman pag-usapan. :) We are thankful, though, for all the support for the families and friends of the fallen.

      1. On another note, have you seen the news earlier about the SAF meeting PNoy’s questions with total silence? Grabe what a blow to the man’s ego. Which, I admit, he deserves after talking about his family once again!

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