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A parent’s prayer for the SAF 44 |

Health And Family

A parent’s prayer for the SAF 44

Tina Santiago-Rodriguez - The Philippine Star

It has been almost two weeks since 44 of the country’s Special Action Force (SAF) officers from the Philippine National Police were killed in a clash with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Mamapasano, Maguindanao -- an event that has caused the whole country to mourn and ask a lot of questions about our nation’s leadership.

A lot of finger-pointing has been (and is still being) done, and many people have been critical of how the government has been handling the situation. As Commander-in-Chief, President Aquino, in particular, has been under fire for his role in the whole affair, and some have even called on him to step down from his position.

Although I have my own questions and opinions about what transpired, I will not share them here. Instead, I would just like to invite you to join me in praying for our country, and the fallen 44 and their families.

Now, more than ever, we need to join hands in prayer. It doesn’t matter what religion you profess to be part of, or whether or not you believe in a "Higher Being" or "Higher Power."

What matters most is that we send our prayers (or "positive thoughts" or "love and light," or whatever you want to call them) out there, especially for the souls of those who have died (on both sides of the clashing forces), and for their grieving families. I cannot even begin to imagine how painful all of this must be for them, and I can only hope that they will eventually be able to move on with their lives, knowing that their loved ones’ sacrifices were not in vain.

To get the ball rolling, below is a prayer that you can use -- please do modify it as you please (Note: This prayer was actually inspired by another prayer written especially for the families of police officers who were gunned down in a coffee shop in the U.S.)

Photo by koko-tewan |

Heavenly Father, we come to you in our need. We come to You with our grief, confusion, anger, disappointment. We know that this is Your world. We know that You have set the rules. Because You love us, You have given us free will, and the ability to choose what is right or wrong. You have created us humans with the capacity to love but also to hate. 

Sadly, there is much hatred in this world, in our own country. There is much darkness. There is much division. We don’t understand why all of this has happened -- why the slain Special Action Force officers had to die the way they did. There are still many questions left to be answered.

Hear our plea now, O God. We ask, "How can you turn this disaster into something good?" "Is there any hope for our country?" "Will justice be served?"

Through all these questions, we know that You are in control. We seek Your help now, Lord, especially for the families of all those who have died on both sides of the clashing groups.

Through and past the pain these families are now feeling, please show them Your love and comfort. Draw them toward You and don’t let them turn in anger from the only One who can heal their brokenness and pain. We know that You are present for them, O God. In the emptiness of their sorrow, show them Your mercy, Your compassion, Your kindness.

We pray, too, for the souls of all who have been killed -- from the SAF and from the MILF/BIFF. Have mercy on them, O Lord, and let Your perpetual light shine upon them.

In a special way, we also pray for all those involved in this incident -- especially those in government, and in the MILF and other rebel movements. We pray for justice -- Your justice -- to reign. May those who are in the position to make a difference in our country truly do so, for the sake of our people, especially those who have no voice, no position.

We can’t see how this tragedy can become something good, but You do, Lord. You do not will such tragedies, but yes, You can use them. We know You can.

Lastly, we pray for Your peace. For peace in our hearts, our homes, our country. We pray for peace especially in areas like Mindanao. We pray for all of us -- Christians, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, etc. -- that we may see in each other the basic human goodness that only You can create. For it is only when we see each other through Your eyes that peace can truly exist.

Let Your light shine in the darkness, God. Do not let that darkness overcome Your presence. Use us, Your people, to be the bearers of Your light to others, even if it is by "just praying" for others.


One of the groups that I’m part of, Filipinos for Life, actually started a "prayer chain" for the 44 slain SAF officers, where each of us "adopted" an officer to pray for. The photo above shows the name of the officer who was assigned to our family, and it is our privilege to offer up prayers and Masses for him and his family.

If you feel inspired to do the same thing with your own family or group of friends, here is the list of the “fallen 44”:

1. Sr. Insp. Ryan Ballesteros Pabalinas
2. Sr. Insp. John Garry Alcantara Erana
3. Sr. Insp. Max Jim Ramirez Tria
4. Sr. Insp. Cyrus Paleyan Anniban
5. Sr. Insp. Gednat G. Tabdi
6. Insp. Joey Sacristan Gamutan
7. Insp. Rennie Tayrus
8. SPO1 Lover L. Inocencio
9. PO3 Rodrigo F. Acob Jr.
10. PO3 Virgel S. Villanueva
11. PO3 Andres Viernes Duque Jr.
12. PO3 Vitoriano Nacion Acain
13. PO3 Noel Onangey Golocan
14. PO3 Junrel Narvas Kibete
15. PO3 Jed-In Abubakar Asjali
16. PO3 Robert Dommolog Allaga
17. PO3 John Lloyd Rebammonte Sumbilla
18. PO2 Amman Misuari Esmula
19. PO2 Peterson I. Carap
20. PO2 Roger C. Cordero
21. PO2 Nicky DC Nacino Jr.
22. PO2 Glenn Berecio Bedua
23. PO2 Chum Goc-Ong Agabon
24. PO2 Richelle Salangan Baluga
25. PO2 Noel Nebrida Balaca
26. PO2 Joel Bimidang Dulnuan
27. PO2 Godofredo Basak Cabanlet
28. PO2 Franklin Cadap Danao
29. PO2 Walner Faustino Danao
30. PO2 Jerry Dailay Kayob
31. PO2 Noble Sungay Kiangan
32. PO2 Ephraim G. Mejia
33. PO2 Omar Agacer Nacionales
34. PO2 Rodel Eva Ramacula
35. PO2 Romeo Valles Senin II
36. PO1 Russel Bawaan Bilog
37. PO1 Angel C. Kodiamat
38. PO1 Windell Llano Candano
39. PO1 Loreto Guyab Capinding
40. PO1 Gringo Charag Cayang-o
41. PO1 Romeo Cumanoy Cempron
42. PO1 Mark Lory Orloque Clemencio
43. PO1 Joseph Gumatay Sagonoy
44. PO1 Oliebeth Ligutan Viernes

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
And let the perpetual light shine upon them.

And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Note: The prayer published here originally appeared on

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