Tuesday, February 9, 2016

PGIN hails Ilocano Fallen SAF ‘courageous son of the North’

DOMINADOR Nacionales, PO2 Nacionales' father, thanks all who attended the ceremony.
Alaric A. Yanos
By Mizpah Grace G. Castro and Jennifer T. Pambid

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) through the Sangguniang Panlalawigan hailed Mamasapano clash commando PO3 Omar A. Nacionales as a “courageous son of the North” for demonstrating Ilocano resilience and heroism during "Oplan Exodus" of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF).

Beginning as an operation to neutralize international terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir alias Marwan, and Abdul Basit Usman, members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) stationed at Brgy. Tukanalipao in Mamasapano, Maguindanao clashed with SAF operatives resulting in the deaths 44 SAF members, 18 MILF fighters and seven civilians on January 25 last year, the biggest loss of government elite forces in Philippine history.

PO3 Nacionales was a native of Marcos, and left behind widow and fellow SAF member PO2 Gae Ann Guiniling of La Union Province. He was a member of the PNP class 2008 and awarded the Medalya ng Kadakilaan on September 16, 2014, for a mission against the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga City.

All PNP-SAF members who joined "Oplan Exodus," including PO3 Nacionales, were honored at the Provincial Capitol Grounds today through a commemorative mass, 21-gun salute, and wreath-laying ceremony with Laoag City Hall and Provincial Capitol officials and employees attending.

The rest of the municipalities and city of Ilocos Norte were also enjoined to share their respects and honor the victims by flying the National Colors at half-mast.

Ilocos Norte Governor Maria Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos in her message during the ceremony said, "This came as a tragedy for the Ilocano Nation, for truly napakarami sa 44 ‘yung mass recruitment ng Northern Luzon. Napakarami nang Kailukoan… We are here to do as Ilocanos have throughout the centuries: honoring our dead; venerating heroes and those who have laid down their lives to keep this country and this province safe and secure." 

PGIN to extend additional support to kin of Ilocano SAF 44 member
MEANWHILE, Ms. Marcos said that the provincial government has already granted full scholarship to Mr. Nacionales’ sister, Aleta, who is currently a second-year college student of a business-related course.

Mr. Nacionales’ older brother, Hadji, has also been assisted to work at the Department of Public Works and Highways–Ilocos Norte. Finishing only three years of Civil Engineering, Ms. Marcos hopes to extend assistance until he graduates with a complete degree.

The family recalled that after entering the service, Omar served as their breadwinner and vowed to support the education of his siblings.

Ms. Marcos also hopes that the support given will ease their burden of losing their breadwinner and serve as a way of fulfilling Omar’s dreams for his family.

She added that “the local government unit of Marcos, [where the family hails from] is also working out some land and now some [livelihood assistance].”

While his father, Dominador, said they have yet to receive housing and livelihood assistance from the national government, he thanked Ms. Marcos for her immediate and continuous support to them.

“I’ve been hearing that they [national government] have already fulfilled their obligations to the slain SAF troopers but we are still waiting. However, we thank Governor Marcos for empathizing with us and for her relentless support to our family,” he said in Ilocano.

Ms. Marcos expressed her admiration to the Nacionales family for becoming an inspiration through their strength and humility.

“Hindi lamang si Omar Nacionales ang banuar ti amianan, kundi pati ang pamilya niya. Alam naman natin kung gaano kahirap ang buhay at talagang very humble talaga ang kanila kubo, ang kanilang [pagsasaka]—napakahirap talaga ng buhay nila, subalit walang hiningi kundi pag-aaral at kabuhayan. May this be an inspiration to the rest of us.”

She added that PGIN will continue extending assistance to the family as a way of expressing gratitude to Mr. Nacionales’ gallantry.

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