MANILA, Philippines – Two soldiers died in a clash with communist rebels in Parasonan village in Compostela Valley Tuesday.
The fatalities were identified as Sergeants Bonifacio Guerrero and Zaldy Lechonchito, according to Army spokesman Major Harold Cabunoc.
When rebels killed Guerrero at the height of the fighting, Lechonchito surged forward to retrieve the body but got hit by enemy fire.
Lechonchito, along with the other wounded, was brought to hospital but he was declared dead on arrival.
Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Florendo, the Commanding Officer of the 66th Infantry Battalion, said that he sent another platoon of soldiers to pursue the rebels, resulting in a series of gunbattles that lasted for at least four hours.
He said civilians have provided some clues about the whereabouts of the rebels through text messages.
“They are very helpful in our drive to flush out the remnants of these communist rebels who are now resorting to plain banditry. We will relentlessly pursue these rebels who have evolved to become a potent organized crime group responsible for the burning of construction equipment as well as mining facilities here,” said Florendo.
He added that the death of his soldiers “will serve as motivation for the others to serve their country well and emulate their heroism.”