ILIGAN CITY – The Philippine Army in Lanao del Norte vowed to get justice to the death of three soldiers who were shot on Thursday in Poona Piagapo, Lanao del Norte.
Lt. Col. Domingo Dulay, commander of the 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion (4Mech), said “losing three men all at the same time is heartbreaking and truly devastating.”
“This is a very difficult moment for all of us. As the commander, I never felt the heaviness of the responsibility given to me until this moment came. These were my men. These were the very same soldiers I sent to combat missions,” Dulay said in a tribute program after a necrological service over the weekend inside a newly-finished chapel at the headquarters of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade in Barangay Maria Cristina, Iligan City.
Corporals Albert Saura, 31, and Bryan Binayug, 26 and Private First Class Albert Soriano, 29, were on their way down to the battalion headquarters in Baloi town to submit their Statement of Assets Liabilities and Networth (SALN) report and to buy their food supplies when the shooting incident happened.
The three were crossing Radapan River, about six to seven kilometers away from their detachment in Barangay Tangclao, pushing their motorcycle against the strong current of the water when they were fired upon by five to nine armed men, according to Dulay.
An 18-year-old civilian was also hit which caused his death.
The two corporal’s service firearms, both .45-caliber pistols, were also taken.
Dulay said the three soldiers were part of the combat operation in Marawi City in 2017 that drove away Dawlah Ismiya (DI) who wanted to establish their place in the city.
They were part of the troops deployed at the boundaries of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte to prevent the DI in entering Lanao del Norte area.
“We will mourn, we will grieve, but we shall all muster our courage to overcome such a great loss. Your ultimate sacrifice will fuel our resolve to seek justice against those who continue to thread the path of violence. We shall be unrelenting in our mission to bring peace here in our area,” Dulay said as he spoke in front of the three flag-draped coffins.
On Saturday, the remains of the three soldiers were brought to their respective hometowns via the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ C-130. (PNA)