Monday, August 8, 2016

Troops Morale Uplifted, CIC Duterte Visits Wake of Fallen Soldiers

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City – The Commander-in-Chief, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte visited the wake of four Army troops laid at Camp Panacan on August 6, 2016 following the series of encounters and ambushes of New People’s Army that erupted in Compostela Valley Province last August 4 and 5 wounding 12 others.

Three of the slain soldiers were Cpl. Jimmy M. Bayta, Jr., Cpl. Gilmar C. Mapa, and Cpl. Rolen Roy Sarmiento from 25th Infantry Battalion, who died in a landmine ambush after conducting a pursuit operation against more or less 60 NPAs in Brgy Rizal, Monkayo, CVP. The other one was Cpl. Ruel G. Mangaoang from 71st Infantry Battalion following a firefight against around 30 NPA in Brgy Parasanon, Maragusan, CVP.

The Eastern Mindanao Command earlier gave an Arrival Honors to the fallen soldiers to pay tribute to the gallantry and supreme sacrifice they gave in securing the communities from lawless elements.

On the other hand, the president talked to the family of the soldiers and extended his condolences. He also handed-over financial support to them.

Morale Boosted

Same day after his visit at the wake, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte also checks the fourteen wounded soldiers admitted at the Camp Panacan Station Hospital.

The soldiers were wounded-in-action (WIA) during their encounter and ambush of against the New People’s Army (NPA) in Monkayo and Maragusan, Compostela Valley last August 4 and 5, 2016. They were also awarded by the President with Wounded Personnel Medal.

Although the incident was tragic, the troop’s spirits came alive after seeing the Commander-in-Chief’s presence in the Camp, talking to the soldiers personally and extending his support. “It boosted our morale and motivated us to pursue our mission of securing the people and the communities,” one of the soldiers said.

Stop the landmines

In the opening of his speech, the president expressed his dismay over the NPA’s use of landmine.

He accounted that the NPAs are the “very first to cry foul” when they see something wrong in the handling of (NPA) prisoners and even filed several cases to soldiers because of this, which is under the Geneva Convention. However, President Duterte countered this action of the NPAs saying that “one of the important and maybe a very humane provision, yung binabawal po yung landmine.”

He discredited the sensitiveness of the NPAs saying that if it is to their advantage, they invoke the Geneva convention, yet they are using landmines which is against its provisions.

He also reiterated one of his questions with the NPAs when he was the mayor of Davao City about the use of landmine. “Akala ko ba sumusunod kayo ng Geneva convention?”

“This cannot go on” he said.

The latter also challenged the NPAs. “Stop the landmines. Either you stop it or we stop talking, then we fight for another 45 years. . . If I hear another explosion killing people and soldiers, we stop talking.”

Three of the killed soldiers who were from the 25th Infantry Battalion died due to a landmine explosion planted by the NPAs in Monkayo, CVP last August 5, 2016. Their faces were also smashed by the NPAs with stone and some were even hacked with a knife in the neck.

It can be recalled the President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the unilateral ceasefire last July 30 after the NPA’s used the declaration to stage an ambush against the soldiers of 60th Infantry Battalion in Kapalong killing one CAA. The president lifted it and declared an offensive against the lawless armed groups who are currently threatening the different communities in the country. 

Source: Public Information Office, Eastern Mindanao Command, AFP

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