THE Senate adopted on Monday, January 22, a resolution commending and honoring the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for their bravery and heroism in bravely fighting and defeating the Maute-Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in Marawi City.Proposed Senate Resolution No. 401, authored by Senator Risa Hontiveros, was adopted in consideration of Proposed Senate Resolution Nos. 411, 416, 418, 536 and 540 introduced by Senators De Lima and Ejercito, Senate President Pimentel, and Senator Zubiri, respectively.

Those who were present to witness the event were 15 members of the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion under whose sector Omarkhayam Maute and Insilon Hapilon were neutralized, signaling the end of the five-month old siege. On behalf of the group, former 8th Scout Ranger Company commander Cpt Jommel Ray Parreno, whose unit was responsible for finishing off the two top leaders of the Maute-ASG group, thanked the people of the Senate for their support to the soldiers during the Marawi Siege. He also conveyed the gratitude of the soldiers to the senators for their role in increasing the salaries of the uniformed personnel in government.

The Marawi heroes who were present were supposed to merely hand over a certificate of appreciation to one of the AFP’s civilian partners, Mr. Manny Bautista, during the Marawi siege but I brought them to the Senate for the flag raising ceremony before their breakfast date with him.

The heroes were welcomed by the Senate officials and employees with loud cheers and applause, even lining up to shake their hands and personally thank them. After the flag raising ceremony, Senate Secretary Barbo insisted that they have breakfast at the Executive Lounge. It was then that the Senate officials, in particular Deputy Secretary Edwin Bellen, thought that with the soldiers’ presence in the Senate, it would be the best time for the senators to adopt the resolutions honoring the AFP and PNP for freeing Marawi City.

The warriors were asked to come back for the session that afternoon. When they did, lo and behold, the resolution was already included in the Senate’s Order of Business, for sponsorship by the Majority Leader Senator Sotto.

As loudly as they were cheered upon and applauded by the Senate officials and employees earlier that day, the senators warmly welcomed and thanked them as much during the plenary session that afternoon for their great service to the nation, also standing in line to shake each and every warrior’s hand, and they all walked to the rostrum to join Senate President Koko Pimentel to say cheese to the cameras for posterity. BEEN THERE DONE THAT/JOSEPHINE CODILLA

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