Isulan declares ‘Day of Mourning’ for fallen PNP-SAF trooper

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 4 Feb) – Officials and employees of the municipal government of Isulan in Sultan Kudarat wore black arm bands and draped their offices with black ribbons on Wednesday as they observed a special “Day of Mourning” for an elite police trooper from the area who died in the bloody clash last week in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Isulan Mayor Diosdado Pallasigue said they declared the entire Wednesday as a “Day of Mourning” for the late Police Officer (PO) 2 Roger Cordero and the 43 other members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) who were killed in the Jan. 25 “misencounter” with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Cordero hails from Barangay Kalawag 1 in Isulan, the capital town of Sultan Kudarat province.

“This is to show our sympathy to the family of PO2 Cordero and also recognize his sacrifices and heroism,” the mayor said.

The municipal government, led by Pallasigue, held a special program on Wednesday morning to give tribute to PO2 Cordero.

The program was joined by family members of the slain SAF member, police personnel, government and private workers and local residents.

Aside from the municipal government, private establishments and other government offices draped black ribbons on their buildings. Vehicles owned by the municipal government and some local residents also carried black ribbons.

Pallasigue said that aside from the observance of the “Day of Mourning,” the local government will lead a “unity walk” for the 44 fallen SAF commandos on Friday.

He said the activity will coincide with the transfer of PO2 Cordero’s wake from their residence in Barangay Kalawag 1 to the municipal gymnasium.

“We offered the use of the municipal gymnasium for the last night of the wake to allow more residents to pay their last respects to him,” he said.

The mayor said a necrological service will be held at the gymnasium on Saturday morning before PO2 Cordero will be finally laid to rest.

PO2 Cordero was among the members of the SAF’s 5th Special Action Battalion that figured in a fierce clash and eventually pinned down by MILF and BIFF forces during the Mamasapano operation.

The SAF elements were serving arrest warrants for Malaysian bombing suspect Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and local bomb expert Abdul Basit Usman in the outskirts of Mamasapano, Maguindanao when they clashed with the members of MILF and the BIFF.

Marwan, who was reportedly killed in the operation, and Usman were included in the terror list of the United States and carry a combined bounty of US$ 6 million.