CAMP SIONGCO, Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao: Some 225 members of three elite companies of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6thID) that fought the combined force of Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorists and Abu Sayyaf Group in Marawi City were greeted with a heroes welcome as they returned to the barracks in this camp here on Saturday.
Cotabato City and Maguindanao residents, including school children, waved miniature Philippine flags as convoy of the triumphant soldiers enter the city heading towards the sprawling Camp Siongco beside the Cotabato City Airport.
Major Gen. Arnel de la Vega, 6thID commander, thanked the personnel of the division’s 61st, 62nd and 63rd Reconnaissance Companies that helped in liberating Marawi City from the IS-inspired terrorists.
The three companies, trained in quick emergency reaction and commando-style assaults, arrived at the Army camp on Saturday morning after about five hours of travel by land from Marawi City.
Dela Vega happily announced that the troops under his command suffered no casualty except for the six soldiers wounded in action.
He identified them as Sergeants Vergel dela Cruz and Marlon Hechanova; Private 1st Class Jayson Palma; and Privates Aljon Jimenez, Ryan Tamonan and Joshua Gerald Cagud.
“Our men are lucky none of them perished in their combat engagements there. We are thankful to those who prayed for their safety and welfare,” Dela Vega said.
JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL