5 slain soldiers accorded full military honors

ZAMBOANGA CITY–The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) on Monday accorded full military honors to the five soldiers who died fighting against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits in Sulu.

This came as the remains of the five slain soldiers were sent home aboard a C-130 “Hercules” plane a to their respective hometowns.

Fully honored were the following: Cpl. John Raphy Francisco, Ilagan City, Isabela; Cpl. Renhart Macad, Tabuk City, Kalinga; Cpl. Bryan Apalin, Tineg, Abra; Cpl. Marlon Manuel, Cauayan City, Isabela; and, PFC. John Labbutan, Rizal, Kalinga.

They were killed in a clash against some 50 ASG bandits led by sub-leader Almujer Yadah on Friday in Barangay Liang, Patikul, Sulu.

The clash, which also injured 24 other soldiers, including a junior officer, broke out while the troops were conducting intensified military operations in a bid to rescue the remaining hostages.

Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, Westmincom information officer, said reports gathered from the community that some 10 ASG bandits were killed during the clash.

The ASG bandits are still holding captive six people including two foreigners–one Vietnamese and one Dutch–and four Filipinos. Ely Dumaboc/PNA-northboundasia.com