By: LIEUTENANT COLONEL EDGARD A AREVALO PN(M)
Director, Naval Public Affairs Office
Thursday, 08 October 2009
Marines clashed with unidentified armed men in Sulu and Basilan last Monday, 05 October 2009 and killed in action one Marine and wounded another.
Around 30 men under Khabir Malik attacked two detachments of MBLT11 in Brgy Bitan-ag, Panamao, Sulu at 11AM. The 40-minute firefight inflicted an undetermined number of casualties among the enemy. No casualties were reported among the Marines.
At 2:15 PM, 48 members of 26MC, MBLT6 who were conducting combat clearing operations along Sitio Talatac, Brgy Bato-Bato, Indanan, Sulu engaged a group of 150 armed men in a two-hour battle. Another Marine was also wounded.
Killed in action was Private First Class Valeriano Bacud Pagulayan, a native of Penablanca, Cagayan province. Pagulayan, 27 years old entered the Marines in February 2008 as a trainee and graduated six months later. He was deployed to Sulu and became part of the Jolo Internal Defense Force.
According to Staff Sergeant Richard Lapingkao, Pagulayan’s platoon sergeant, the young Marine had dreamed of becoming a soldier since he was young because a number of his relatives belonged to the Marines. His father is a farmer and he has five other siblings. Lapingkao said Pagulayan deeply attached his life to the service and added he was proud of his comrade who died in the call of duty. Pagulayan had been in previous encounters in the past but the encounter last Monday in Brgy Bato-Bato was Pagulayan’s first major one. He succumbed to his wounds while his comrades were asministering first aid.
Meanwhile, two more Marine detachments in Brgy Bohelebong, Tipo-Tipo, Basilan were also attacked simultaneously Monday afternoon. The Marine successfully repelled both attacks that lasted for 30 minutes without sustaining casualties.
Vice Admiral Ferdinand S Golez condoles with the family of Pfc Pagulayan. He adds that the deaths of Marines in battle will not go in vain as the Navy will pursue its fight against lawless elements in the south. “The Navy will not be cowed but will be more vigilant by these attacks that are meant to harrass our operating units. We will remain focused in our commitment to bring about lasting peace in the island province through peace and development efforts. In the end we are confident that the people will discern who are their true protectors.”