By Franco Regala
Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija –Seventy-nine soldiers of the 72nd Division Reconnaissance Company (DRC) who fought during the Marawi siege were given a hero’s welcome by Maj. Gen. Felimon T. Santos, 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (7ID-PA) commander recently.
Santos said the troops served as rear defenders during the Marawi City battle. “In going there, their task was to defend the rear. Ibig sabihin, pinu-protektahan nila ang likod upang hindi ma-reinforce ang kalaban.’’
“They’ve played their role, they’ve played it well,” he said.
According to him, the company conducted checkpoints to halt Maute from moving from one place to another and cleared houses. They also recovered 12 high powered-firearms, improvised explosive device, 16 radio communication equipment and based radio and one binocular during a clearing operation.
The 7th ID commander praised the troops, led by 1 Lt. Beethoven Cabanlit, commanding officer, for returning home safe. “Nandito sila nang buong-buo. walang kulang at wala ring sobra (They are here intact. No less, no more.)’’
He also honored those who died, particularly those in the 7ID’s Scout Ranger force who suffered a loss with the death of Private First Class Nesty Tecson; the 69th Infantry Battalion had two wounded men. Tecson was killed during the final assault.
For his part, Cabanlit said they had fought the feeling of being away from their family and unfamiliarity with urban warfare.
He added that they had to pray before every operation.
Santos said the soldiers would be given a month long vacation after debriefing.
“While no one from the 72nd DRC was killed, they have witnessed and joined the rescue of wounded comrades. That sight was not easy for them as well,’’ he noted.
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