MANILA – Malacañang on Saturday said President Benigno Aquino III is set to confer the Medal of Valor on two Special Action Force (SAF) commandos who died in the January 2015 Mamasapano clash.
"This is the awarding ceremony that will take place, I believe, in Camp Crame. The President authorized the award and among the awards that will be conferred ay ang tinatawag na Medalya ng Kagitingan or the PNP Medal of Valor," said Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manolo Quezon III in a radio interview.
A Philippine Star report, quoting Philippine National Police chief Director General Ricardo Marquez, said the two slain SAF troopers who will posthumously receive the medal are Senior Insp. Gednat Tabdi and Police Officer 2 Romeo Cempron.
Quezon said that aside from the two, a Medalya ng Kabahayanihan or the PNP Distinguished Conduct Medal will also be awarded to the other members of the SAF 44.
On Monday, January 25, the nation will commemorate the first year of the bloody clash, which saw over 60 individuals killed in an operation to neutralize Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and his Filipino cohort, Abdul Basit Usman.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a Muslim secessionist group which entered into a peace negotiation with the government, was one of the parties blamed for the SAF troopers' death.
With MILF's sincerity in the peace process put into question, the passage in Congress of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which was supposed to institutionalize the agreements between the Moro group and the government, was considerably delayed.