Mamasapano Clash by the numbers


The image on the header are screengrabs from a viral Youtube video showing SAF troopers’ dead bodies scattered on the encounter site. 


          #Fallen44, #Mamasapano .  More than just seeing hashtags on Twitter and Facebook, how many of you actually clicked a link and voraciously read a long article about the January 25 Mamasapano Clash? You pretty much know the basic information already. This is a major bloodshed that happened again in Maguindanao. Forty-four Special Action Force (SAF) commandos were killed. The entire nation mourned and wept with the families of these elite members of the Philippine National Police. The entire twitterverse blasted with #NasaanAngPangulo, bashing President Aquino for his absence during the arrival honors for the slain hero-cops. Number.001

You changed the profile/display photos of your social media accounts with that viral “Truth for the Fallen44” photo. Browsed, skimmed, and retweeted a couple of news articles. But how much details have you really taken note of? Here is a digest of 9 Most Significant Numbers you must know about the Mamasapano Clash.

PNP Photo of 44 SAF Men
The 44 heroes of Oplan Exodus. Photo from the Philippine National Police.


Of the forty-four SAF commandos killed, 35 were from the 55th Special Action Company. Nine (9) were from the 84th Special Action Company. The initial investigation of the Board of Inquiry tasked to probe the Mamasapano Clash revealed that the original blueprint of Oplan Exodus, the SAF’s Operation to neutralize high-profile terrorist Marwan, was not followed. The ill-fated 55th Special Action Company was considered a support effort that serves as the blocking force for 84th Special Action Company. Although 84th company was able to kill Marwan, the 55th company was unfortunately not able to reach their target point and was cornered by MILF and BIFF forces. The rest of the companies were not able to rescue them as they were blocked by other rebel groups scattered in the area. Earlier this February, a viral Youtube video showing some of the dead bodies of SAF commandos on the encounter site was making rounds on social media. The gruesome video uploaded on January 28 showed some dead bodies scattered on the cornfield. This week, another graphic video circulating online showed  a SAF member already fighting for his life being shot at close range in the chest and the head, finally causing his death. This video has stirred massive outcry for justice, even making Philippine National Police Officer-in-charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina very emotional during a House committee probe on February 11.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines asked netizens to refrain from sharing the video. In a statement, AFP spokesperson Col. Restituto Padilla said, “If you get it, condemn the act by all means. But better not to share it to respect the memory of the dead and avoid adding to the pain of the grieving families.”

“If you get it, condemn the act by all means. But better not to share it to respect the memory of the dead and avoid adding to the pain of the grieving families.”

-Col. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesperson

Number.003          Of the 36 members of the 55th Company, only one survived. In a report on 24 Oras , the lone survivor told the harrowing story of how he saved his life by hiding in the waterlilies floating on the river.  Rebels tried shooting him twice with a sniper but eventually stopped, thinking he was dead. (Watch 24 Oras report here)

is the total nuNumber.005mber of SAF troopers deployed in Mamasapano for Oplan Exodus . The 392 troopers were divided into 12 groups including the 55th and 84th Special Action Company. The latter is considered the “main effort” fundamentally focused on pinning down Marwan.

At least 250 MILF and BIFF were Number.006killed in the Mamasapano Clash. This is according to suspended SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas. He said in the Senate hearing that PNP based their estimate on the accounts of the SAF troopers who survived the firefight.

Suspended SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas. (Screengrab from 24 Oras)

Number.007          Despite Napeñas’ claims, Mohagher Iqbal,chief peace negotiator, insisted MILF’s earlier statement that less than 20 were
killed and 14 were wounded during the clash. He further said, “We can’t locate the graves. “Pag totoo ‘yan, kami ang na-massacre.”

“We can’t locate the graves. Pag totoo ‘yan, kami ang na-massacre.”

– Iqbal Mohagher, MILF chief peace negotiator

Number.008          Four civilians were dead and thousands fled their homes. Reported by , DOH headed by regional secretary Dr. Kadil Sinolingding conducted a medical mission in barangay Tukanalipao. Apart from ordinary illness (hypertension, cough and colds), many were suffering emotional distress and trauma.  In the said report, Dr. Sinonglingding further said, “Many of them could hardly sleep for fear of yet another round of violence.”

“Many of them could hardly sleep for fear of yet another round of violence.”

– Dr. Sinolingding, ARMM DOH Secretary

Number.009Before this bloody Mamasapano Clash, there were a total of 10 other previous attempts to capture Marwan since 2010. On February 9 in the Senate hearing, PNP Board of Inquiry head Director Benjamin Magalong outlined these ten operation plans. There was Oplan Pitas in December 2010, Oplan Smartbomb in July 2012, Oplan Wolverine in December 2012, Oplan Cyclops in April 2013, Oplan Cyclops  2 in June 2013, Oplan Wolverine 2 in March 2014, Oplan Wolverine 3 in May 2014, Oplan Terminator in November 2014, and Oplan Terminator 2 in December 2014. Magalong also added that Marwan was previously spotted in Sulu, Basilan, and Lanao Del Sur.

Number.004          Zero order given. AFP and PNP Leaders said that they did not receive any order from PNoy prohibiting them from sending reinforcement or additional troops.

File Photo.

It is important to account that apart from human casualties, there were more than ten cattle and  five carabao that perished during the encounter. This is according to claims of the residents living in the vicinity of the clash. On February 9, a story on 24 Oras reported the struggle of the residents. Residents shared that apart from the crops destroyed, valued farm animals were killed, making it more difficult for them to recover after bloody firefight.



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