Pres. Duterte recognizes 14 soldiers injured in mine explosion

DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday awarded the Wounded Personnel Medal to 14 soldiers who were injured in a landmine explosion during a pursuit and clearing operation against members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

The President visited the soldiers at the Camp Panacan Station Hospital at the Naval Station Felix Apolinario in Panacan and presented them the medal for putting their lives at risk while fighting the NPA rebels.

Recognized were Cpl. Ben Jon Soratos, Cpl. Jo Mark Accad, Cpl. Allan Aguilar, Cpl. Abelardo Suela Jr., Cpl. Rey Danaytan, Pfc. Kevin Nuesca, Pfc. Paul John Aromin, Pfc. Dominic Alegado, Pfc. Marlon Soriano, Pfc. John Tecson, Pfc. Celso Oliveros Neri Jr., Pfc. Alvin Omagtang, Pvt. Noel Ramos and 2Lt. Harvey Kyl Escora. They were also given cash assistance and cellular phones.

Two soldiers were killed during the explosion — Cpl.Michael Yadao and Pvt. Vilmel Damondon.

The explosion took place in Barangay Lamanan, Calinan district last Feb. 16, where the soldiers were stationed as part of the Charlie and Alpha companies and Scout Platoon of the 3rd Infantry Battalion.

According to reports, the encounter occurred when members of the NPA Pulang Bagani Command 1 under alias Jinggoy, and Pulang Bagani Command 2 under alias Lando attacked the soldiers in Davao city’s second and third districts last Thursday.

At about 5:30 a.m., the rebels attacked a military detachment in Malabog, Paquibato district, during which one rebel was killed. At about noontime, the NPA attacked civilian communities and burned down equipment at a pineapple plantation in Baguio district.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines believes the series of attacks perpetrated by the rebel group were retaliations for the death of a comrade in a recent encounter in Paquibato.