• Fallen soldiers given honors

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    The four soldiers, who were killed in a clash with communist rebels in southern Philippines, were sent home to their grieving families after receiving military honors yesterday.

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    The four – Corporal Ricardo Reyes, Private First Class Rolando Dela Rosa, John Rar Pagba and Joven Campollo—were killed in a roadside bombing in San Fernando town in Bukidnon province. The incident also sparked a 45-minute firefight that killed New People’s Army (NPA) fighters Girlie Banlag and Alex Doongan.

    Lt. Gen. Aurello Baladad, chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command, and Maj. Gen. Eduardo Ano, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, led their troops in honoring the slain soldiers.

    Major Ezra Balagtey, a Philippine Army spokesman, quoted Baladad as saying: “They (slain soldiers) have displayed the finest tradition of soldiery, they made the supreme sacrifice defending democracy and fighting for peace and we are ensuring that their death will be the bastion of peace and progress in Eastern Mindanao.’’

    The military honor for the soldiers came a day after government troops also killed 5 rebels in a clash in Compostela Valley’s Mabini town. The soldiers recovered five automatic rifles from the slain communist fighters.

    The NPA has been fighting for decades now for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country.

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