Death tally rises to eight in Sulu: military
Eight persons died and 22 wounded after two blasts occurred in a military camp in Sulu Friday, a military spokesperson said Saturday.
Major Arvin Encinas, spokesman of Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom), said the casualty count rose as three civilians were killed and 10 were wounded.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said “authorities are eyeing the Abu Sayyaf (ASG) behind this dastardly attack”.
“We will pursue them and all other terrorist groups that sow and instill fear among our people. We will run after them until they can run no more,” he said.
Panelo said “the government will harness all its might to destroy the enemies of the state as well as their supporters to secure lasting peace in the region.”
“If these bandits have not learned from the terrorists who were annihilated in Marawi, then this time they will,” he added.
It can be recalled the military initially reported three soldiers and two alleged bomb carriers were killed and 12 other troops wounded on Friday.
Encinas said the injured civilian were hit by shrapnel during the first explosion at the checkpoint at the gate of the headquarters of 1st Brigade Combat Team (1BCT).
“In front of the camp of 1st Brigade Combat Team there is a community. There are houses, busy roads. The gate is closed to the road and the community,” he said.
“Those who sustained shrapnel wounds were just slightly wounded. They are all in stable condition, no one is in serious condition, among the injured, Encinas added.
Encinas said the military is still trying to establish the identity of the alleged bomb carriers.
Col. Noel Detoyato, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs service chief, said AFP Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal condemned the bombing.
Madrigal was able to talk to the 1BCT troops present in the post before proceeding to Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Jolo, said Detoyato.
"We condemn the latest bombing in Jolo that victimized not only our soldiers but also civilians who were in the vicinity of the blast. Targeting soldiers and civilians whose only intention is to provide security and maintain peace in the communities is a cowardly act and deserves condemnation in the strongest terms possible," Madrigal said.
Detoyato said during his visit Madrigal awarded the Wounded Personnel Medal to members of the 1BCT confined at the station hospital.
He said Madrigal emphasized that “the three soldiers did not die in vain as they were able to detect and prevent the bomber from entering the camp thus saving many lives.
''The second bomber was also neutralized by troops before he was able to get inside the billeting area but was able to detonate the bomb which resulted in the wounding of other troops,” added Madrigal
"We commiserate with the relatives of our troops and the civilians and we assure the wounded personnel of the utmost care and medical attention," Madrigal said.
The Philippine Army assures benefits for families of three soldiers killed in the bombing incident.
Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, Philippine Army spokesman, identified the slain soldiers as Corporal Richard Macabadbad, Private First Class Dominique Inte and Recarte Alban, Jr.
“Their families are set to receive benefits such as the Command Special Financial Assistance from the Headquarters Philippine Army and Burial Assistance of P80, 000,” he said.
“They will also receive benefits provided by the Comprehensive Social Benefits Program (CSBP) from the Office of the President's Social Civic Projects Fund (SCPF) such as the Special Financial Assistance amounting to P500, 000, Educational Assistance to two dependents each who are not enjoying scholarships and enrolled in public schools or state universities and colleges, and Shelter Assistance from the National Housing Authority,” he noted.
"We commiserate with the families of our personnel who gave up their lives in the service of the people of Sulu. Their courageous act beyond the call of duty prevented further possible casualties and destruction of government property. For these heroes, the Philippine Army will ensure that all benefits entitled to them will be extended to the loved ones they have left behind," he added. Robina Asido/DMS