From the Visayan Daily Star (Aug 5): 1,000 Army 3 rd ID soldiers helping to liberate Marawi
About 1,000 soldiers of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division intended to battle communist insurgents in Negros and Panay, will form the second line of defense of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in liberating Marawi from the occupation of the ISIS-inspired Maute terrorist group.
Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, 3ID commanding general, yesterday said the 15th and 82nd Infantry Battalions that used to be assigned in Negros and Iloilo, respectively, are supporting the main effort of the AFP to destroy the Maute terrorist group.
The 11th Infantry Battalion that used to be assigned in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, is being deployed in Zamboanga.
The 15IB has suffered three casualties, who include SSgt. Joseph Villanueva of La Castellana, Negros Occidental, military records showed.
But four other Negrenses assigned to other Army infantry units, including 2Lt. McGlen Abuyabor, Corporals Ariel Arquio, Ramonito Occena III and Arjay Baroa, also died in the assault on Maute group strongholds in Marawi City.
All of them were accorded military honors upon the return of their remains to their respective homes in the Negros Island Region.
Aying, who recently visited his troops in Marawi City to check on their morale, said he expects the return of 3ID troops to Negros and Panay, although there is no definite time yet.
He said the area occupied by the Maute terrorists has been reduced to about two barangays. But since these are highly-urbanized barangays, with the size of about four football fields, filled with concrete multi-story buildings, Aying said “It is very difficult to clear or assault”, as the terrain situation hampers the movement and clearing operations of the military”.
Miltary records show that 124 government troops have already died while fighting with the Maute terrorist group, who have suffered more than 400 casualties
Aying noted that majority of soldiers were injured by improvised explosives devices, RPG (rocket propelled grenade) explosions. At the same time, he also observed that many of the soldiers killed were hit by the sniper fires.
The main battle area of Marawi is being occupied by four task groups, the Scout Ranger and Light Reaction Regiments, Marines and the Army's 103 Infantry Brigade.
Aying said they are simultaneously attacking the main line defense of the Maute Group, with the 15IB and 82IB supporting them.
While they are in the second line of defense, Aying said his troops are also being hit by stray bullets.
Aside from the usual benefits accorded to slain soldiers by the AFP, Aying said President Rodrigo Duterte also gave financial assistance to their widows and children.
As stipulated in the Comprehensive Social Benefits Program of the government, families of the slain soldiers and policemen will receive P500,000 as well as shelter, educational and health assistance.
A policeman or soldier injured in battle may also receive P250,000 assistance from the government.