CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN, Catbalogan City-The 8th Infantry “Stormtroopers” Division, Philippine Army mourns the loss of Corporal Isagani D. Balmes of the 19th Infantry Battalion (19IB), who heroically sacrificed his life during an armed encounter with the communist terrorist group (CTG) in Barangay Lourdes, Las Navas, Northern Samar, on May 16, 2024.

Corporal Balmes, a resident of Taft, Eastern Samar, sustained fatal injuries to his lower chest and right forearm after a 15-minute firefight with the CTGs.

Corporal Balmes exhibited exceptional dedication to his duty and demonstrated heroism by taking the lead in the Community Support Program activities to facilitate the delivery of basic services in the community.

Major General Camilo Ligayo, commander of the 8th Infantry Division, said that the Stormtroopers are saddened over the loss of an exemplary soldier who demonstrated unwavering dedication and service in the pursuit of peace in Eastern Visayas.

“Corporal Balmes’ valor and dedication to duty epitomize the highest ideals of military service. His sacrifice will be remembered and honored by his comrades and the nation,” stated Maj. Gen. Ligayo.

Corporal Balmes had previously been awarded the Gold Cross Medal, the third-highest military award for heroism, for his courageous actions during an armed encounter against the remnants of FC-1 (D), SRC Emporium in the vicinity of Sitio Gibulwangan, Barangay Senonogan, Pambujan, Northern Samar, on September 15, 2023.

“The Philippine Army extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Corporal Balmes. His heroism and dedication will never be forgotten,” Maj. Gen. Ligayo added.(PR)