Sunday, April 26, 2020

Cordillerans mourn for soldiers killed by terrorist groups

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 25, 2020): Cordillerans mourn for soldiers killed by terrorist groups (By Redjie Melvic M. Cawis)

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BAGUIO CITY, Apr. (PIA) – Cordillerans mourn the death of soldiers, six of them Cordillerans, who made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives while performing their duty for the country in two separate incidents last week.

The Philippine Army Western Mindanao Command reported that 12 soldiers from the 21st Infantry Battalion were killed while 13 others were wounded as they clashed with the Abu Sayyaf Group terrorists in Sitio Bud Lubong, Barangay Danag in Patikul, Sulu on April 17, 2020.

Among those killed in action were five Cordillerans troopers namely Corporal John Michael Manodom of Asin Road, Baguio City; Corporal Jomar NiƱalga of Monamon Norte, Bauko, Mountain Province; Corporal Razul Ao-as of Pasil, Kalinga, and Private First Class Benson Bongguic of Conner, Apayao. Staff Sergeant Alexander Bolesa of Manabo, Abra who was wounded during the firefight died on April 20 in a health facility in Mindanao.

The soldiers were running after ASG leader Radullan Sahiron and Hatib Hajan Sawajaan when they were overpowered by at least 40 heavily armed ASG terrorists in the jungle island of Sulu.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines led by Chief of Staff General Felimon Santos Jr, Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, and the Major Service Commanders rendered military honors to the soldiers at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay on April 18 before being airlifted to their respective hometowns.

Photo from Salute to Fallne Heroes social media page

On April 19, 2020, 2nd Lieutenant Ralf Amante Abibico of Monamon Sur in Bauko, Mountain Province and two other soldiers were killed while four others were wounded by alleged members of the New People’s Army while conducting security patrol in support to the activities of the DSWD in Barangay Carabalan, Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental.

Abibico, 23, was a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 2018.

According to reports, troops from the 94th Infantry Battalion were conducting community security patrol in connection with the Social Amelioration Program of the DSWD for affected families due to COVID-19 pandemic disease when they received reports of armed group conducting extortion activities in the communities. The soldiers were close in getting the NPA group when an improvised explosive device exploded and hand grenades were thrown inflicting immediate casualties among the government troops.

Local officials and citizens deeply condole with the bereaved families of all these heroes who sacrificed their lives in the service of the country.

Mtn. Province Govenor Bonifacio Lacwasan, in a statement said, “In view of these aimless killings, I enjoin everyone to pray for Divine Intervention that will not only heal and protect our people from the COVID-19 but will also provide strength to the weak and the suffering, especially to all families left behind and to those who were wounded in the latest armed battles.

Let us also pray for enlightenment among heartless individuals who continue to wreak havoc for personal gains.” (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)

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