13 Apr 2016

President Aquino visits wake of soldier who died in Basilan clash
(ZAMBOANGA CITY) President Aquino on Wednesday visited the wake of a soldier who died in combat in Basilan last Saturday assuring his family of government support.

The President arrived in Barangay Ayala and met the family of Cpl. Rodelio Bangcairin, one of the casualties of the bloody encounter in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan.

Bangcairin, 40, is survived by his wife and two children ages 12 and 3. He is a member of the Philippine Army and has served the military for 16 years, according to his family.

After his visit in Barangay Ayala, the President also met the wounded soldiers in Camp Navarro General Hospital inside the Western Mindanao Command.

Thirty-eight soldiers, who sustained minor injuries, are confined at Camp Navarro General Hospital for treatment. The President also went to Edwin Andrews Air Base Hospital to meet six soldiers who are confined there.

Medical staffs from Camp Navarro General Hospital said there is a total of 53 wounded soldiers during the encounter in Basilan on April 9.

Aside from those confined in military hospitals here in Zamboanga City, other wounded soldiers are recuperating in other private hospitals here and some were flown to V. Luna Hospital in Quezon City.

Eighteen soldiers died in the clash in Basilan, which according to the military was a result of the continuing military offensive against the Islamic militants.

Military officials said they started the operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group in November last year. They vowed to neutralize the Abu Sayyaf first before organizing a board of inquiry to get to the bottom of the bloody Basilan encounter.

The 1st Infantry Division said it received unconfirmed reports that 28 Abu Sayyaf members were killed in the ongoing military operations in Basilan. PND (as)

President Aquino says investigation into deadly Basilan encounter will be conducted
(ZAMBOANGA CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday personally extended his condolences to the families of the soldiers who perished in an encounter in Basilan last weekend, assuring them that an investigation will be conducted.

Eighteen soldiers died in the clash with members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and 53 others sustained injuries, the military has said.

During his meeting with the families of the deceased soldiers at the Edwin Andrews Air Base, the President said a full investigation will be launched once the ongoing military operations in Basilan are completed.

A military board of inquiry will be organized to find out what happened, he said, vowing to hold accountable those who have committed negligence that resulted in the huge casualty on the side of the government.

The President explained that the military will however have to neutralize the Abu Sayyaf Group first, so as not to lose momentum in the ongoing military offensive against the Islamic militant group.

He also asked the families about their needs, especially since many of them have lost their breadwinners.

Some of the families asked about the education of young children left behind by the soldiers and how their widows could get support from the government. Others wanted to know how other family members could join the military.

President Aquino said the government will give these families the assistance they deserve.

Major General Gerardo Barrientos, Jr. of the 1st Infantry Division said the families’ benefits include P250,000 from the Office of the President, about P180,000 in remuneration cash, P50,000 from the Mutual Benefit Association’s License, and P100,000 from the Philippine Army Finance Center Producers Integrated Cooperative.

“’Yung burial expenses na P80,000, this is over and above ng remuneration na ibinibigay ng ating organization,” he said, adding that there will also be contributions from the division itself and from the headquarters, including a scholarship program from the government.

“Sa kasalukuyan, iyong members ng ating Presidential Management Staff ay nagko-conduct ng pakikipagpulong doon sa ating mga naulila para malaman kung ano talaga ang kanilang problema. Meron ding mga scholarship programs na inilaan ang ating gobyerno kasama itong program ng ating Philippine Army,” Barrientos said. PND (as)