FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City – As part of its morale and welfare program, the Philippine Army has facilitated the release of 7 million and two hundred thousand pesos for the families of slain soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during a battle in Basilan.
Major Harold M. Cabunoc, the Philippine Army spokesperson, said that each family of the slain soldiers will receive an amount ranging from 630,000 to 760, 000 pesos depending on their rank and their length of military service.
“The Army will never forget the benefits due to our modern heroes. We owe them for their sacrifices while preserving the peace in the countryside,” said Cabunoc.
Cabunoc added that the amount includes among others the P250,000.00 from the Presidential Social Fund, House and Lot Remuneration that will be received 'in-kind' worth P180,000.00 as well as the Special Financial Assistance from the Philippine Army amounting to around P130,000.00.
It can be recalled that ten soldiers perished in the series of clashes on Thursday (Jul 26), when a 40-man patrol battled with at least one hundred fifty rebels in Upper Cabengbeng, Sumisip, Basilan.
Seventeen soldiers were also hurt in the gun battles which raged starting at 7:30am up until late in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, five rebels were killed while more others may have died but were dragged away by their comrades.
The slain soldiers were identified as Pfc Segundiano G. Tamayo Jr, Pfc Rey C. Evangelista, Pfc Arnold D. Coresis, Pfc Cleto A. Algayan, Pfc Kennith John D. Maribao, Pfc Jose Marvin V. Talamante, Pfc Mark B. Ocampo, Pfc Arwin C. Martinez, Cpl Jerry N. Areglado and Pfc Erwin E. Alerta.
Seventeen more soldiers sustained injuries in the firefight but only 13 were evacuated to a military hospital in Zamboanga City.
Four of the slightly injured soldiers among them two Scout Ranger officers (Cpt Rodrigo Babaran and Lt Arcel Soco), opted to remain in the scene of the clashes to rejoin their unit in the sustained pursuit operations.
Five of the slain soldiers will be airlifted to Manila tomorrow (Jul 28) to be accorded military honors at the Army headquarters. The expected time of arrival is at around 4:00pm at Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.
Army chief Lt Gen Emmanuel Bautista has sent his condolences to the families of the slain soldiers.