From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 19, 2020): Baguio condoles with kin of Cordilleran soldiers killed in Sulu (By Pamela Mariz Geminiano)
BAGUIO CITY – The city government here has expressed condolences to the family of the soldiers who were killed in a clash with bandits in Sulu, especially the four who are natives of the Cordillera Administrative Region.
"The City Government of Baguio led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan mourns the loss of our brave Cordilleran soldiers who were among the 11 servicemen killed in an ambush by the Abu Sayyaf group in Patikul, Sulu on April 17, 2020," a post on the social media account of the city public information office on Sunday said.
The city government acknowledged the heroism of "our fallen brothers and sympathies to their families and friends," the statement added.
The Army's 5th Infantry Division, in a press release also on Sunday, named the slain Cordilleran soldiers as Cpl. Rasul B. Ao-as of Barangay Magsilay, Pasil, Kalinga; Pfc. Benson A. Bongguic of Barangay Caloocan, Rizal, Kalinga; Cpl. Jomar A. Niñalga of Barangay Monamon Norte, Bauko, Mt. Province; and Cpl. John Michael T. Manodom of Km. 4, Asin Road, Baguio City.
Three other soldiers among the 11 who died in the attack were also from Northern Luzon. They are S/Sgt. Jayson P. Gazzingan of Barangay San Rafael East, Sta. Maria, Isabela; Cpl. Ernesto L. Bautista Jr. of Barangay Naguilian Sur, Ilagan City, Isabela and Pfc. Jomel N. Pagulayan of Barangay Cataggaman Pardo, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.
Maj. Gen. Pablo Lorenzo, commanding general of the 5th Infantry Division based in Gamu, Isabela, said: "the Philippine Army raised the national flag today at half-mast to honor the courage and heroism of the 11 brave soldiers of the 21st Infantry Battalion who were killed during an encounter against the terrorist Abu Sayyaff Group in Patikul, Sulu on April 17, 2020.
He said the troops of the 21st Infantry Battalion, a former organic unit which has been deployed in Mindanao for about five years now and has been made a part of the newly organized 11th Infantry (Alakdan) Division in Sulu since August 2019, were conducting peace and security operations in the hinterlands of Patikul when they encountered more or less 40 Abu Sayyaf terrorists which led to a fierce firefight that lasted an hour and resulted in the death of 11 soldiers and wounding of 14 others.
"Their bravery and heroism will remain forever in our hearts and will serve as an inspiration for us all to crush the enemies of the state with greater conviction and renewed vigor," Lorenzo said as he assured that the government will extend the necessary assistance to the bereaved families of the fallen troopers.