Eight soldiers of the 62nd Infantry Battlion who were wounded in a gun battle with the New People’s Army rebels Saturday in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, received medals, in recognition of their gallantry.
The eight Army soldiers were cited by the 3rd Infantry Division headed by Maj. Gen. Dinoh Dolina for their efforts in preventing terroristic activities of the New People’s Army, two days before the May 14 elections, in Brgy. Tan-awan, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.
The hour-long gunbattle between 62IB soldiers and about 60 communist rebels, who also used IEDs (Improvised Explosives Devices) against Army soldiers, claimed the lives of two troopers and caused injuries to eight others.
A platoon-sized unit of the 62IB had been conducting clearing and combat operations, in presentation for the May 14 elections, when the armed engagement took place on May 12, Capt. Ruel Llanes, 303rd Infantry Brigade spokesman said.
Awarded with the Wounded Personnel Medal were Sgt Niňo Nabaunag, Pfc Michael Bersana, Pfc Voltair Catamin, Pfc Angelito Banga, Pfc Kenneth Cerbo, Pvt Ryan Las Piñas, Pvt Joven Taghap and Pvt John Daryle Delgado, all 62IB.
The encounter triggered the evacuation of 236 individuals,who later returned to their homes,after casting their votes at the Tan-awan barangay proper in Kabankalan City, on election day.
While the voting went smoothly, the canvassing of votes in Brgy. Tan-awan, Kabankalan City, was transferred to the poblacion of Kabankalan City, for security reasons, Supt. Rhea Santos, Kabankalan City police chief, said.
Three other personnel of the 61st Infantry Battalion identified as Sgt. Paolo Ogaro, PFCs Hans Christian de la Cruz and John Anthony Barrientos, were also conferred similar medals by the 3ID, for the gallantry they displayed during an encounter with suspected NPA rebels on May 5 in Calinog, Iloilo.
They were hit by shrapnels and injured from an EID set by NPA rebels, Capt. Eduardo Precioso, 3ID spokesman said.
Dolina commended the bravery and heroism of the dead and wounded soldiers, and expressed his sympathy to the families of the two slain soldiers.*GPB
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