After Mindanao assignment

CALBAYOG CITY- After almost two years of deployment in Mindanao, members of the 63rd Infantry Battalion have returned home as officials and their loved ones joyously waited at them as they disembarked in a Philippine Air Force plane Thursday (July 5) morning at this city’s airport.
The soldiers, led by their commanding officer Lt.Col.Rizaldo Laurena, were assigned in Jolo, Sulu on August 31,2016 to help fight members of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group and in 2017, were deployed to Marawi City to neutralize another terror group, the Maute Group.
About eight soldiers of the 63rd IB were killed and 30 were wounded during their assignment in Mindanao.
On Thursday morning, 50 personnel of the 63rd IB, four of them officers, arrived home with the remaining of more than 100 soldiers expected to come home soon.
The weary but excited soldiers were welcomed by B/ General Eliezer Losañes, deputy commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Division, and Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino.
Their loved ones were also around to welcome the soldiers.
Sonia Cabrera, a cousin of one of the soldiers, was delighted that her cousin has returned safely.
“I am happy that my cousin is now here, he is back and safe,” Cabrera said.
Other family members of the soldiers were delighted and happy upon seeing their loved ones.
In his message, Mayor Aquino expressed his appreciation to the soldiers for their heroic act in Mindanao.
“We welcome you back home, saluting you in making our country a peaceful place to live,” the city mayor said.
He also acknowledged the returning soldiers of their contribution in the stability of Mindanao and their effort in the fast recovery of Marawi City.
“We hope that you will continue to be the vanguards of democracy that we are enjoying and will continue to serve our people,” Aquino further said.
Meanwhile, BGen Losañes said that the soldiers had shown how to be heroes with their sacrifices while in Mindanao.
“The sacrifices made by Filipino soldiers is not observed by public but it does not serve as a hindrance for you to offer yourself for the country,” he said, adding said that the people in Mindanao will forever be grateful to the members of the 63rd IB for what they did to attain peace in their area.
Losañes said that the arrival of the 63rd IB soldiers are timely as government troops in the region continue to press on their campaign against members of the New Peoples’ Army.
“As the focus of the campaign plan shifts to this region, your service will have an important role in this quest,” he said.
The soldiers, whose original base is in Las Navas, Northern Samar, were deployed to the headquarters of the 43rd IB in San Jorge, Samar. (JENNIFER SUMAGANG-ALLEGADO)