MARAWI CITY, Philippines – After almost 5 months inside the battle area, the 1st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army has left the city Friday morning, October 20, following a send-off ceremony held inside the military’s Camp Ranao.
The troops were the first to arrive in Marawi City when members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-inspired Maute group laid siege in the city on May 23. The troops were able to rescue 34 hostages from the terrorists and recovered assorted high powered firearms.
During the ceremony, a Silver Cross medal was awarded to battalion commander Lt Col Christopher Tampus and to his three company commanders. The unit as a whole was also commended with a plaque of appreciation for their service.
“I laud the men and women of the 1st Infantry Battalion for their dedicated service and for being here at the onset of the Marawi siege. My gratitude to you for a job well done,” Maj. General Danilo Pamonag, commander of the Joint Task Force Marawi, said in his message.
The troops will return to their mother unit at the 2nd Infantry Division in Tanay, Rizal.
Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Mindanao commander Lt. General Carlito Galvez, Jr. said the troops has “maintained the highest dignity as soldiers while serving the people of Marawi to liberate it from the influence of terrorists.”
“As much as we want to have you here, we need to let you go. Our oath is to serve the people and maintain the integrity of our country,” Galvez said.
The troops are also set to undergo training for their next assignment to secure the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. (davaotoday.com)