DAVAO CITY— Another battalion under the 10th Infantry Division (ID) will be sent off to Jolo, Sulu to beef up government campaign to crush the Abu Sayyaf group in the area.
Captain Ryan Batchar, 10th ID spokesperson, said that after the 69th Infantry Battalion (IB) and the 2nd Scout Ranger who was sent off last week, the 68th IB will now be pulled out here to beef up the operation in Sulu.
Batchar said that the 68th IB would be sent off next week, September 6.
“May tatlong battalion na po tayong na pinadala natin sa area ng Western Mindanao Command (We already sent three battalions to the area of the Western Mindanao Command),” he said.
He said that the adding of troops in Western Mindanao is not because of the 15 soldiers who were killed during a clash with Abu Sayyaf but “to beef up the operations there and they are still in need of additional forces in the area of Sulu.”
Major Ezra Balagtey, Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson added “It is not because of the incident, but this was programmed after we shifted the declaration of President Rodrigo Duterte to crush Abu Sayyaf.”
Balagtey said this will be the fifth army unit from the EMC to be deployed to the area after the 69th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion, 16th Infantry Battalion and the Special Forces Battalion.
Meanwhile, President Duterte announced that the family of the slain soldiers would receive immediate help from the government. He made the assurance during his visit to the wake at the gymnasium of the Wesmincom in Zamboanga City,
Duterte said that the families would be automatic members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Duterte added that he has directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to receive the widows of the soldiers to accept them as government employees.
As for the children, Duterte said that he would shoulder the college education of the all the children of the 15 slain soldiers.
Duterte said that as of now, he can only cover the college education. But the President said the government will try to provide scholarship for the soldiers’ children from kindergarten to secondary level.
“I’m sorry that this has to happen, I do not want it to happen again. Again I share my grief to everybody who died,” he said.(davaotoday.com)