Centcom sends 200 soldiers to Zamboanga-A A +A
Thursday, September 12, 2013
A BATALLION of 200 was deployed by the Central Command to Zamboanga City yesterday in support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the members of the Moro National Liberation Font (MNLF).
Major Roy Deveraturda, Centcom commander, said the deployed first scout ranger battalion will serve as force multipliers for the army troops in Zamboanga City.
“Kung saan kami ipadala at kailangan ang serbisyo namin, lagi kaming handa (Wherever they send us and whenever our services are needed, we’re always ready),” expressed Deveraturda.
He said Cebu and the whole region is still safe.
“Walang dapat ikabahala dito sa Cebu at sa buong Central Visayas. Normal situation.
Walang mangyayari dito at ready kami mangalaga sa buong bayan (No need to worry here in Cebu and in the whole Central Visayas. Nothing will happen here and we’re ready to take care of the whole country),” assured Deveraturda.
Aside from the troops of Centcom, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 also deployed 130 personnel to Zamboanga City, who were supposed to arrive on Tuesday, but instead arrived yesterday afternoon since there were limited planes to transport them.
Supt. Edward Caranza, chief of the Directorial Staff of the PRO 7, said there were only two C-130 planes available.
Caranza said the 130 personnel from the Regional Public Safety Batallion (RPSB) will serve as blocking forces and may have to engage the rebel troops if needed.
Meanwhile, the Centcom commander also expressed his sympathy to the family of PO3 Jose Audrey Bañares, 39, who was killed while fighting against the MNLF.
Bañares was shot dead during an encounter with the rebels while the Naval Special Operations Group (Navsog) Unit 6 faced the MNLF fighters last Monday dawn.
Deveraturda said that Bañares did a heroic act and deserved to be given an award.
“Ipinakita niya ang katapangan at kabayanihan ng isang Pilipinong kawal. Malungkot man isipin na pumanaw siya pero isa siyang bayani and his family should be proud of him (He showed the bravery and heroism of a Filipino soldier. It may be sad to think that he had died, but he is a hero),” said Deveraturda.
The Cebu City Council yesterday commended the “bravery” and “sacrifice” of the Cebuano soldier who died in Zamboanga City after government troops and some members of the MNLF clashed last Monday.
“Petty Officer 3 Jose Audrey Bañares died in the service of his country and fellowmen
and he sacrificed his life in pursuit of peace in Mindanao,” said Councilor Alvin Dizon in a resolution approved by the legislative body.
“We commend his bravery and sacrifice for committing his life to the service of the Filipino people,” he said.
Dizon’s resolution was approved in mass motion.
In the one-page resolution, the council also expressed their condolences to the family
of Bañares, particularly his wife and two-month-old baby.
Bañares, who is 39 years old, was a resident of Tabuelan, a municipality in the
western part of Cebu.
Bañares was a member of the Naval Special Operations Group Unit 6 that clashed with
MNLF members at dawn last Monday. He had left for Zamboanga five weeks ago.
The Cebu Provincial Government, for its part, will give honor to Bañares.
The flag in the municipality of Tabuelan was displayed at half-staff starting yesterday to show their sympathy to Bañares.
“We will think of something to honor the fallen navy man,” Davide said.
The governor will discuss with Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale and the Provincial Board members a resolution.
In Tabuelan, a resolution was passed by the municipal council yesterday to extend the town’s condolences to Bañares’s bereaved family.
Tabuelan Mayor Rex Gerona said financial assistance worth P30,000 will be given to the family.
Gerona said he knew the Bañares family because of Barangay Tigbawan Councilor Genes Bañares, brother of the late navy soldier.
The municipality’s flag will remain at half-staff until the interment of Bañares which
will happen this Saturday.
Davide said he will talk to Capitol chief of security Loy Madrigal to monitor crowded areas, such as the Cebu South Bus Terminal, as a precautionary measure.
The Province is also monitoring the airports and seaports.
In a press release, Rep. Luigi Quisumbing (Cebu, 6th district) condemned the attack of the MNLF in Zamboanga and the taking of hostages as shields.
“Loss of lives can never be justified by a political agenda. The use of civilians as hostages is completely unacceptable. This despicable act should be condemned in the strongest terms,” Quisumbing said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 12, 2013.