By Freddie G. Lazaro
Galimuyod, Ilocos Sur – Two young children here will mark Father’s Day today, sadly, without their father, who last month was killed in action while battling local terrorists in Marawi City in faraway Mindanao.
Corporal Elmer Macliing Anno, 32, described by family and friends as a doting father, caring husband and responsible man, perished while trying to thwart members of the Maute terrorist group who invaded Marawi City on May 23.
A husband, a father, a hero
Teary-eyed Carmi Lachica Anno, 28, the fallen soldier’s widow, said that she really misses her husband’s affection, but realized that she has to move on in life and accept her husband’s fate.
“It’s very sad especially since he left our children at a young age, but I need to accept that his life was taken for the sake of peace and freedom in our country,” said Carmi.
Carmi, a native of Pola, Oriental Mindoro, and Elmer got married on December 24, 2015. The couple had two children, Charm Emerald, 3 and Caitlen Elise, 1.
Anno, a member of the 4th Light Reaction Company of the Light Reaction Regiment of the Philippine Army, was recognized by the national government for his heroism and patriotism.
From a grateful nation
On June 8, 2017, Corporal Anno was accorded a hero’s burial at the Galimuyod cemetery with the assistance of the national and local government.
“I thanked President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for his assistance and for giving a hero’s recognition to my husband as well as the Air Materiel Wing Savings and Loan Association, Inc. (AMWSLAI) and the Hannah’s Beach Resort and Convention Center headed by retired Colonel Ricardo Nolasco for their aid to us while we are deeply grieving the untimely death of my husband,” Carmi said.
“Aside from the cash assistance, the national government gave us a certificate of scholarship for the study of my children until college,” she added.
Gallantry in action
He and his unit were tasked with securing a hospital in Marawi City. His unit, however, was met with a volley of gunfire from the Maute fighters.
Anno was badly wounded, but was airlifted to hospital a day later due to heavy fighting in the area.
Carmi learned that her husband was wounded after a fellow soldier sent her a text message.
“My husband’s colleague allayed my fear by telling me through text messages that my husband will soon reply my text messages upon his recovery,” said Carmi.
Sensing that her husband needs her help, she decided to travel to Mindanao on May 27 to attend her husband’s needs and to boost his morale.
Unfortunately, she received another text message that her husband expired at around 2 p.m.
It was also the first birth anniversary of their daughter, Caitlen Elise.
“Instead of going to Mindanao, I waited for the arrival of the cadaver of my husband in Manila,” she said.
‘Good night, pray for Marawi’
She said that she didn’t expect the death of her husband but she recalled that during their last conversation on May 22, the hero soldier uncharacteristically said “good night” and asked her wife to pray for Marawi.
Anno was enlisted to the Philippine Army in 2008; he was trained as a member of the Special Forces and a graduate of the counter-terrorism course of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“This July 30, 2017, my husband was set to have a vacation for the 3rd year birth anniversary of my eldest child and at the same time for the christening of my youngest one; but unfortunately he died on the birthday of my eldest child,” she said.
Meanwhile, the provincial government of Ilocos Sur will award a posthumous Father Jose Burgos award to Corporal Anno for his heroism and valor in Marawi.
“I am appealing to each and everyone in Mindanao especially the Maute terror group to surrender and stop the Marawi crisis to avoid the sacrifice of more lives, have mercy on the families who have to bear with the loss of loved ones during the armed conflict in the area,” the fallen soldier’s widow appealed.
Pangasinenses are also mourning the death of Private First Class Eddie C. Cardona, Jr. who died in Marawi City on June 9.
Cardona is a proud son of Barangay Goyoden, Santiago Island in Bolinao town.
Gov. Amado I. Espino III said that “there is no greater love than to offer one’s life for others and for his country.
Since Thursday, the Pangasinan provincial government hoisted the Philippine flag at half mast at the Capitol Plaza.
Cardona, 28, completed his criminology studies at the Philippine College of Criminology in Manila and joined the Philippine Marines in 2012.
Cardona, was among the 13 Marines who were killed during a raging gunfight with Maute terror group members in Barangay Lilod Madaya.
He was posthumously awarded the Military Merit Medal by President Duterte on June 12.
Cardona volunteered to serve in Marawi after he was not picked at random to do battle with the local terror group. (with a report from Liezle Basa-Inigo)
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