• Army officer dies in SAF 44 tribute run

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    A PHILIPPINE Army officer died during a marathon held in Alabang, Muntinlupa City (Metro Manila) on Sunday, reports reaching Army headquarters said on Monday.

    According to Col. Benjamin Hao, Army spokesman, Maj. Arnold Lubang, 40, was barely a kilometer away from the finish line of the 21-km Condura Skyway marathon Run at Alabang Skyway, when he collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest.

    He was brought to the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Alabang where he was declared dead by attending physician.

    Lubang, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 2000 was very enthusiastic in participating in various running events, according to his classmates.

    “He actively participates in various running events. We were shocked upon receiving the report on the death of our Mistah [classmate in the PMA],” Maj. Joey Capirig said.

    Capirig described Lubang as an achiever, a fighter and among the best officers of the Philippine Army.

    The major was also selected as best junior officer of the year during his stint as company commander in the Army’s 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City.

    He was awarded the Gold Cross Medal in 2003, the third highest award for bravery in
    combat.

    The marathon was for the benefit children of soldiers who were killed in action or soldiers who were incapacitated as a result of wounds sustained while performing their duties.

    A report said Lubang, of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans, was found lying on the ground by another participant, Lt. Joseph Decena, at about 6:30 a.m.

    Police said Decena performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the major before the latter was brought to the hospital.

    A medical team from the hospital said the victim had abrasions in his lips, hands, toes and right eye.

    The remains of Lubang have been transferred to the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory for autopsy to determine the cause of his death.

    He is set to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City (Metro Manila).

    Lubang was among the more than 15,000 runners who participated the marathon that will benefit the children of the 44 soldiers who died in a covert operation against Muslim insurgents in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last year.

    Soldiers from the various armed services also took part in the event.

    Proceeds from the race will go to the Help Educate and Rear Orphans (HERO) Foundation.

    WITH REPORTS FROM MICHAEL JOE T. DELIZO

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