From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 28, 2019): Army chief visits injured soldiers; meets with BARMM chief (By Edwin Fernandez and Noel Punzalan)
CLOSE COORDINATION. Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim (left) and Philippine Army commander Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay shake hands during a meeting in Cotabato City on Friday (Dec. 27. 2019). Gapay has expressed his full support to BARMM’s Joint Peace and Security Team -- composed of soldiers, police and former Moro rebels -- tasked to protect the civilian communities during its transition to a fully established regional government by 2022. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao -- The commanding general of the Philippine Army on Friday came over and sympathized with soldiers injured during terrorist attacks in Cotabato City on December 22.
Army chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay showed up at the Camp Siongco Hospital inside this camp, the 6th Infantry Division (6ID) headquarters in Datu Odin Sinsuat town, to show his concern to the soldiers who risked their lives to protect civilians.
Gapay awarded the Wounded Personnel Medal to Staff Sgt. Ariel M. Lumagod, Private First Class Alijon B. Jimenez, and Private Reymond F. Oyan who all remained at the camp infirmary for wounds they sustained following a grenade explosion while they were conducting a mobile patrol along Sinsuat Avenue in Cotabato City on December 22.
He also talked to other soldiers who sustained minor injuries and were discharged earlier from the camp hospital.
In his message to the officers and men and women of the 6ID, Gapay congratulated them on their productive year and urged them to remain on alert and vigilant even after the anticipated lifting of martial law in Mindanao.
While here, Gapay also met with Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim and Grand Mufti Abu Hurairah Udasan, as well as with Sultan Kudarat Governor “Teng” Mangudadatu.
Gapay assured Ebrahim that the Philippine Army would continue to support BARMM’s Joint Peace and Security Team, composed of soldiers, police and former Moro rebels, who are tasked to protect the civilian communities during its transition to a fully established regional government by 2022.
“We will work hand in hand in capacitating and training them so they could better perform their mandate,” he said.
Gapay also met with 6ID's chief and brigade and battalion field commanders to discuss ways on how to best support them to minimize casualties during military law enforcement operations.
“The Philippine Army is working to fully capacitate our front-line units for its mission while also ensuring the higher survivability rate of the troops, as the strength of the Army lies on the men and women who took the oath to serve the people and secure the land,” he said.