GMA Grants P1.45-M Cash Assistance to Families of Slain Soldiers

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Camp Elias Angeles, Pili, Camarines Sur (1 June) -- Family members of the soldiers who were killed and wounded in an ambush staged by NPA rebels in Camarines Sur have received cash assistance amounting to P1.45 million from Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during her visit in 9ID Army headquarters today.

Five soldiers were killed while four were wounded in a series of ambuscades staged by the NPA rebels in Presentacion town, Camarines Sur last Saturday, May 29.

The soldiers were deployed in the area to secure GMA's flagship road network project that links Presentacion to the tourist-magnet town of Caramoan.

Several family members came to witness the awarding ceremony held in the 9ID chapel and inside the camp's hospital.

Edwin Britannico Sr, father of slain soldier Pfc Edwin Britannico Jr, has mixed emotions about the P250,000.00 cash assistance that he received from Mrs. Arroyo.

He is one of the five direct dependents of the fallen soldiers who benefited from the government's cash assistance.

"I am very thankful that our beloved President has not forgotten the plight of her soldiers' family members. I may be in deep sorrow but her presence has made me smile for this moment," said Edwin Sr.

Four other soldiers who were wounded in action (WIA) received P50,000.00 each from the Mrs. Arroyo.

One of them, Private First Class Jerry Magdasoc, was very happy for the fund support that he personally received from PGMA.

"I can use this amount to start a sari-sari store that will be attended by my wife. I proudly salute [Mrs. Arroyo] for this financial help," Magdasoc said.

Major General Ruperto Pabustan, 9ID Army commander, assisted during the awarding ceremonies.

The soldiers also received the award of Military Merit Medals for heroism in combat as well as the award of the Wounded Personnel Medal.

The soldiers were cited for their heroic actions during the one-hour firefight after being ambushed by a superior enemy force in an upland village of Presentacion town two days ago.

Though outnumbered and being bombarded with landmines and Molotov bombs, the soldiers held their positions to engage the NPA terrorists until they run out of ammunition after the intense hour-long firefight.

Presently, about 300 soldiers have joined the massive manhunt operations supported by helicopter gunships and artillery units to locate the perpetrators of the bloody ambush.

Meanwhile, security patrols for the construction company that implements the road project have been resumed immediately.

"We will continuously support this important infrastructure project of the government. This will surely alleviate the hardships of the people in this part of CamSur," said Lt. Col. Ernesto Cruz, commander of the 42nd Infantry Battalion. (HM Cabunoc, Chief 9ID PAO/PIA)