Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Today Marks The First Death Anniversary Of A Cordilleran Hero

I was thinking of writing a piece about Lawin Salisa last month in time for the celebration of National Heroes' Day in the Philippines. However, I decided to wait as the first anniversary of his passing is just a few weeks away.

On September 24 last year, the Zamboanga Siege was winding down. The Moro National Liberation Front rebels were on the brink of losing every bit of control they had left. Soldiers and policemen of the government were conducting clearing operations in the barangays besieged by the rebels. It was during one of these clearing operations that Lawin Salisa, a member of the elite Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police was fatally shot. He was 28 years old.

I've known Salisa for years. He was my classmate at Saint James High School in Besao, Mt. Province. Since graduating from that school, I haven't seen him much except during batch reunions. He was a good man. The silent type. Doesn't talk much. But always ready to help out whenever he can.
Lawin Salisa (encircled) with other members of the PNP Special Action Force.
During the departure honors at the Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga City. The departure honors were held for the bodies of Lawin Salisa, Enrique Afable and Francis Damian who were then flown to Manila. Photo by Rappler.com.

Here's a beautiful tribute poem written by fellow i-Besao Gil "Bag-iw" Bua-ay. As Albert Pike said, "What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.".


In a village of blissful landscape,
Of green gardens and giant stairs of fields,
Across the grandeur of the Kitkitaw-eng Falls,
Embraced by the impervious Mogao wall,
Once a home to an eagle dear to all.

He joined the march of young and gallant men,
Their mission to dire places peace they’d bring,
A noble calling fitting for his strength,
And the warrior’s blood running through his veins.
The eagle then, seemed to have found his space.

When that gloomy September morning came,
In the middle of a raging battlefield,
The mighty hand of fate clipped the eagle’s wings,
And as the world shed tears for his mortal end,
We that he left thought he’d never fly again.

But as the eagle’s tale was being told,
By comrades he served with in those fiery fields,
Other warriors bowed down to pay their tribute,
We saw a hero’s wings soar to the sky,
The eagle we knew, again is flying high!