53IB, Zambo Sur town honor fallen battalion commander

53IB, Zambo Sur town honor fallen battalion commander

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Army’s 53rd Infantry Battalion (IB) and the municipal government of Guipos in Zamboanga del Sur named a newly completed 600-meter road concreting project in honor of the sacrifice and bravery of the battalion’s former commander, Lt. Col. Dennis Villanueva.

“The road bearing Lt. Col. Villanueva’s name is in appreciation for his ultimate bravery that will always be remembered and for his contributions as to what the 53IB has become today,” Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, the current 53IB commander, said in a statement Saturday.

Herrera said the road project was named in honor of Villanueva through a municipal ordinance passed by the town council on Tuesday.

Villanueva commanded the 53IB from Nov. 29, 2004 until his death on Feb. 10, 2005 while personally leading his troops in a firefight against a breakaway faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Barangay Bitan-ag, Panamao, Sulu.

Villanueva’s unit came under mortar fire from the MNLF faction at the height of heavy fighting in Barangay Bitang-ag, Panamao. One of the mortar shells landed directly in the area being occupied by Villanueva and some of his men.

Herrera said coinciding with the 36th founding anniversary of the 53IB, a ceremony was held Friday to dedicate the newly built road at the battalion’s headquarters in Camp Major David Sabido.

“I am very grateful for 53IB and all who took the initiative in concreting this road. The people living nearby will greatly benefit from the improved concrete road,” said Lakewood Municipal Mayor Domingo Mirrar, the guest speaker during the project’s inauguration. (PNA)

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