FAST FACTS: National day of mourning

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang declared Friday, January 30, a national day of mourning in honor of the 44 elite cops who died in clashes with Muslim rebels in Maguindanao.

The declaration was announced by President Benigno Aquino III in his speech on Wednesday, as he signed Proclamation 953 on the same day.

The proclamation states that this puts the nation "in solidarity with and joins in the grieving of the families and friends of our fallen brothers in the police force."

It instructs "all public institutions and military installations in the Philippines to lower the Philippine flag to half-mast" on this day.

Based on the information provided in, this is the 42nd time in the country's history that a national day of mourning has been declared.

Under the Aquino administration, this is the 3rd time that a national day of mourning has been proclaimed. The other two are:

Republic Act 8491 specifies that the Philippine flag shall be flown at half-mast "as a sign of mourning on all buildings and places where it is displayed."

National days of mourning are usually declared after the death of a former politician, a national artist, or a recipient of national orders and decorations. The length of days when flags are at half-mast depends on the person being remembered:

A national day of mourning could also be declared for other people or events. The January 30 day of mourning for the fallen elite cops is the third to be declared to commemorate victims of violence:

A national day of mourning was also declared for other important public figures such as religious leaders: