Army pays tribute to soldier slain in Samar clash

By Sarwell Meniano and Roel Amazona

May 6, 2024, 12:49 pm

<p>Cpl. Arvien Pajanustan. <em>(Philippine Army photo)</em></p>

Cpl. Arvien Pajanustan. (Philippine Army photo)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Philippine Army has paid tribute to the heroism of Cpl. Arvien Pajanustan, who was killed in a clash with members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Matuguinao, Samar on Saturday.

“He offered the ultimate sacrifice, while serving the people of Samar to attain lasting peace,” Capt. Jefferson Mariano, spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said on Monday.

Pajanustan, one of the troopers of the Army’s 19th Infantry Battalion based in Catubig, Northern Samar died during a clash past 2 p.m. on May 4 with a group of 10 rebels led by a certain Tigeo Dela Cruz in the upland village of San Roque in Matuguinao town.

The soldier died at the encounter site after a bullet hit his neck, according to Mariano.

“San Roque village is isolated and there were recent reports of sightings of rebels, prompting us to include the area in our focused military operations,” Mariano added.

Pajanustan, 27, is a native of Taft, Eastern Samar. He and his wife, a public school teacher, have two young children.

In a statement, Matuguinao Mayor Aran Boller said the heroism of the fallen soldier will never be forgotten by the townspeople.

“I strongly condemn the atrocity and inhumane act of communist terrorist group that led to the death of Pajanustan,” Boller said.

Matuguinao is a fifth-class town in Samar province with a population of 7,288 people. The town is 105 kilometers from Tacloban City, the regional capital.

Almost all of its 20 villages used to be influenced by the New People’s Army (NPA). At present, all communities are free from NPA influence, although four villages are under monitoring for recovery attempts by rebels, according to the local government. (PNA)