Public schools nationwide pay tribute to 44 SAF heroes

The Department of Education (DepEd), together with its schools and offices, observed 44 seconds of silence and one second for peace nationwide during today’s flag-raising ceremonies to honor the 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) who perished during the Mamasapano incident.

Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC said, “It is with profound sadness that we, as a Department, bear this loss, for the valiant 44 PNP-SAF heroes who count as our sons. News of their deaths triggered an expression of sorrow from teachers, administrators, and members of the DepEd family nationwide—they, too, had lost husbands, brothers, and former students."

Luistro emphasized the government’s commitment in making sure that the bereaved families will not be alone in their grief, saying, “We, along with other government agencies, will help take care of those left behind. While recovery from this loss will take time, we will ensure that the needs of widows, children, and families of the deceased are met.”

He urged every educator to instill values of heroism, bravery, tolerance, and compassion among Filipino students in paving the path to peace. Luistro added, “We look to our educators to serve as proper beacons of light, faithful to the search for truth, justice, and peace.”

He added that pursuing peace is not only for the benefit of those in Mindanao but also for the good of the nation, adding the promoting it is a shared responsibility. “There’s no other lesson for us but to pursue peace. So many people have died (in war), we must all work for peace,” he said.

He also reminded everyone to exercise mercy and compassion to people who occupy the peripheries. “We are fortunate to enjoy certain freedoms because of the sacrifice of the few and the brave, while on the other hand, we look to the losses incurred in conflict.”

Students of Oranbo Elementary School, parents, teachers, police officers from the Eastern Police Disctrict, representatives from Bureau of Fire Protection - NCR, DepEd officials and personnel lit candles to honor the bravery and heroism of the 44 SAF men.

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