Filipino-Australians honour ‘Fallen 44’

The Filipino community in Sydney expressed their condolences to the bereaved families of the ‘Fallen 44’ SAF men in a requiem mass held at the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Seven Hills on February 8.

Philippine Ambassador to Australia Belen Anota and military attache Colonel Ricardo Santiago joined the services held in solidarity with the National Day of Mourning in the Philippines as announced by President Benigno Aquino III.

The 44 SAF men were killed in a police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last month. The incident has been considered the biggest peacetime loss of government forces in a single operation.

“We need to balance our sorrow with the joy of their resurrection,” Ambassador Anota said at the services administered by Rev Fr. Florito Apallas.

“Let us continue praying not only for the eternal repose of the souls of our fallen heroes, but also for the comfort and the consolation of their families and loved ones, and as one people. Let us continue to pray for peace in our country,

A military salute to honour the fallen was given by the Australian Army Reserve Major Tom Baena Jr, retired Philippine Constabulary (PC) Col. Rene Lusica and Lt Max Encomienda of the Blacktown RSL sub-branch.

The Mass was organised by the Philippine Community Council-NSW.

Photo credit: Mr. Jade Cadelina

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