LIEUTENANT COLONEL EDGARD A AREVALO PN(M)
Director, Naval Public Affairs Office
Around 1003H, today 16 August 2009, two (2) Air Force UH-1H choppers that carried on board BGEN Rustico Guerrero, the Commanding General of 1st Marine Brigade leading the combat operations and law enforcement actions in Basilan, and four (4) companions were fired upon from the ground by unidentified armed men at the vicinity of Barangay Limbo Upas, Albarka, Basilan.
The pilots, BGEN Guerrero, and Mr Leo Alcamoso were unscatched, Jorge Bandola, Egay Luciano and Louie Iglesia—TV journalist, cameraman from National Broadcasting Network 4 photographers from the Office of the press secretary, respectively sustained superficial splinter wounds. The helis had to make doctrinal landing in Lamitan City as a matter of precaution before proceeding back to Edwin Andrews Airforce Base in Zamboanga. The chopper incurred torn transmission oil line due to bullet hit. BGEN Guerrero’s group was at Sitio Kurellem, Silangkum, Tipo-Tipo, Basilan for the ceremonial flag raising ceremony in the erstwhile Abu Sayyaf Group stronghold and turnover the sitio back to its residents thru Mayor of Tipo-Tipo. It will be recalled that ASGs seized and occupy the sitio and drove away the local residents. It took 23 lives-2young officers and 21 soldiers—to wrest control of and liberate the sitio from the crutches of the bandit ASGs. We will unrelentlessly conduct combat operations to decimate the terrorists, end their sowing of terror.