Despite losses, soldiers’ morale still high - AFP chief PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 May 2013 11:03

Despite suffering loss of lives in an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) Saturday morning, the morale of the Filipino soldier is still high, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista said.

“The morale of our people continues to be high. This is an incident which will not deter our people from performing their mandate of protecting the people and the state, the security and sovereignty of the state, and the national territory,” Bautista said at the sidelines of the ceremony honoring the seven fallen Marines at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City Monday.

Seven Marines, including an officer, were killed in an encounter with the bandits.

Bautista added he has also talked with Western Mindanao ground commanders, including the Marine brigade in Sulu, and directed them to continue the hot pursuit operations against the ASG.

“The directive for them is to continue to pursue the perpetrators of this incident,” he said.

Bautista said the Philippine Navy (PN) investigation on the ambush is a standard operating procedure.

“After any encounter whether the outcome is positive or negative, we conduct inquiries for the lessons we learned, out of this incidents. In fact we document these,” he said.

Earlier, PN Spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic said the bodies of the seven soldiers were flown out of Edwin Andrews Airbase, Zamboanga City via a C-130 “Hercules” cargo aircraft Sunday afternoon.

The military plane arrived at Villamor Air Base around 4:35 p.m., he said.

Fabic identified the slain troopers as 2nd Lt. Alfredo Lorin, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class of 2011, Cpl. Jay Alasain, Pfc. Andres Bogwana, Pfc. Rene Gare, Pfc. Jayson Durante, Pfc. Dominador Sabejon and Pfc. Roxas Pizarro.

The troopers are members of the Force Recon Class-18 who encountered on Saturday undetermined numbers of bandits while tracking down the group involved in kidnapping incidents in Sulu.

The families of the fallen heroes will receive financial assistance from the PN and will likewise be entitled with scholarship grants.

Full military honors were accorded to the victims.