PBBM decries Maguindanao ambush; orders aid for kin of fallen soldiers

By Priam Nepomuceno and Darryl John Esguerra

March 18, 2024, 11:00 am

<p>President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. <em>(File Photo)</em></p>

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (File Photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. condemned on Monday the ambush perpetrated by suspected Dawlah Islamiya (DI) terrorists in Datu Hoffer Ampatuan, Maguindanao del Sur that left four soldiers dead.

In a statement shared on his X (formerly Twitter) account, Marcos said the “despicable act" only strengthens the government’s "resolve to eradicate terrorism from the region and our entire nation."

“We strongly condemn the cowardly ambush that targeted four of our courageous soldiers in Maguindanao del Sur on March 17,” the President said.

Marcos ordered the immediate provision of assistance to the families of the fallen soldiers.

“Under my administration, we remain resolute in our pledge to ensure that justice is swiftly served for our fallen heroes. I have instructed the immediate provision of benefits and assistance to support the families they leave behind,” the President said.

“Let this tragic event unite us in our unwavering commitment for a safer, stronger, and insurgency-free Philippines. Together, we shall prevail against these acts of violence.”

According to reports, the soldiers were heading back to base around
10 a.m. on Sunday after purchasing food and office supplies when the attack occurred.

Three members of the Army's 40th Infantry Battalion (IB), and another member of the 3rd Army Cavalry, all under the 601st Infantry Brigade, perished in the ambush.

Terrorists behind ambush will be neutralized

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said the military will hunt down and neutralize the perpetrators.

"The AFP vows to hunt down the perpetrators and neutralize these ruthless killers to finally put a stop to their violent acts that disrupt peace and stability in the region," he said in a statement.

In a separate statement, Philippine Army (PA) commander Lt. Gen. Roy Galido denounced the “treacherous attack” by the terrorist group.

"The PA condemns the senseless, treacherous, and most heinous acts perpetrated by this terrorist group. The Army is committed to ensuring that the perpetrators face the full consequences of their actions and that justice will be served for the victims and their families, " he said.

He added that they are working closely with local authorities and community leaders to ensure that security measures in the area are sustained.

Galido said the incident only strengthens their resolve “to eradicate this terrorist group from our land once and for all.”

'Come together, decry attack'

Meanwhile, the chair of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace Unification and Reconciliation, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, condemned the recent attack against the soldiers.

Estrada urged the public to come together and decry this act of violence by extremists.

"We must come together to condemn these acts of violence. The incident underscores the ongoing conflict and violence in the region where extremist groups continue to pose a threat to peace and stability," Estrada said in a statement.

"We must stand firm against extremism and terrorism," he added.

The lawmaker said these sacrifices of Filipino soldiers do not go unnoticed and assured that his committee would stand by "our brave men and women in the Armed Forces in this difficult time."

Estrada also sent his condolences to the families of the four soldiers killed in the attack. (With a report from Wilnard Barcelonia/PNA)