President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday led the arrival honors at the Villamor Air Base for the eight soldiers killed in hours-long gun battle between government forces and Maute militants in Marawi last Friday.
President Duterte arrived at the Air Base grandstand around 7:50 p.m. where he personally condoled with the families of the slain soldiers. The bodies of the slain Marines were flown to Manila from Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro City on Sunday afternoon.
Upon the arrival of the President, the metal caskets covered with the Philippine flag, were carried by soldiers out of the C-130 plane and were placed on high-lift ramps in front of the grandstand.
The slain soldiers were accorded arrival honors. The President then approached each family member to express his sympathies and condolences.
The eight Marines who were honored were First Lieutenant Raymond M. Abad, First Lieutenant John Frederick S. Savellano, Staff Sergeant. Joven Q. Triston, Sergeant Simeon I. Plares, Corporal Rolan H. Sumagpang, Private First Class Marvin Russel D. Gomez, Private Bernie Jhon B. Lunas, and Private First Class Gener C. Tinangag.
The President extended financial assistance to the families of the fallen soldiers. He then proceeded to the Marines headquarters in Fort Bonifacio to visit the wake of another two soldiers who were also killed in action in Marawi.
The two were Corporal Romula Garcia and Private First Class Eddie Cardona Jr. whose remains lie in state at the Acero Hall inside the Philippine Marine Headquaters. The President’s last stop was at the Libingan ng mga Bayani where he paid his last respects to Corporal Reymond Paracuelles, who was killed on June 9 during a firefight with members of Maute group. (PND/PNA)
DAY OF SILENCE & PRAYER
In honor of government security forces and civilians who died in the ongoing efforts to clear Marawi City of remaining Maute Group remnants, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is observing Day of Silence and Prayer starting Sunday until early Monday, AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.
“For the rest of the day today (Sunday) and early tomorrow (Monday), we shall not be providing updates. The AFP will observe a Day of Silence and Prayer in tribute to the fallen heroes of Marawi and also in remembrance of the innocent lives lost to rebel atrocities,” he added.
As of Saturday, the military reported that security troops sustained 58 dead in the ongoing efforts to liberate Marawi City from the terrorists and another 20 civilians executed by the lawless elements early in the conflict which started May 23.
Thirteen of the recent losses were Marine troopers who were killed in a major engagement between Marine units and Maute Group terrorists which lasted for some 14 hours in Barangay Lilot Madaya in Marawi City Friday.
Fighting started 3:30 a.m. and ended 5 p.m. of June 9. Around 40 were also reported wounded.
“Our men served with honor and we ask you to join us in prayer for the repose of their souls, strength for the bereaved families in this moment of grief and for peace in our land,” Padilla concluded. (Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)
Even as it praised the heroism and dedication of the 13 Marine troopers killed and 40 others wounded in the clearing operations in Marawi City Friday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said this incident was but a temporary setback in the efforts to eliminate the Maute Group remnants in the locality.
“This temporary setback has not diminished our resolve a bit. It instead primed up our determination to continue our prudent advances to neutralize the enemy, save the innocent lives trapped in the fight, and set the conditions for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi,” AFP public affairs office chief Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo said.
“We salute these enormous display of heroism and raw courage of these fallen Marines in the course of the fight to clear Marawi of the remaining members of the Maute-ISIS Group,” he added.
Reports coming in at AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City indicated that a major engagement, lasting for some 14 hours, erupted between Marine units and Maute Group terrorists at Barangay Lilot Madaya in Marawi City Friday.
Arevalo said fighting started 3:30 a.m. and ended 5 p.m. of June 9.
“The Marines were able to inflict heavy casualties to the terrorist group at the expense of 13 killed-in-action and 40 others wounded-in-action at a raging close quarter combat,” he added.
No other details are available yet as fighting is still ongoing.
Arevalo said that the AFP cannot make the names of the fallen and wounded available until such time that we have informed the next of kin.
“We urge our people to pray for eternal rest for our fallen heroes and those of innocent civilians killed by the terrorist group as well as comfort and solace for the bereaved families,” the AFP public affairs office chief stressed.
Government losses in the more than three week campaign has been placed at 58, including Friday’s casualties, and at least 140 in the side of the lawless elements.
The conflict started May 23 when government forces attempted to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon who is touted to be the ISIS emir in Southeast Asia. (Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)