Widows of 3 ‘Marawi heroes’ join Army with 649 others

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PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur — The widows of three “Marawi heroes” have graduated as new soldiers at the 1st Infantry Division (1ID) Training School in Labangan town, this province.

Capt. Clint Antipala, 1ID information officer, said Thursday the three were among the 649 new soldiers who graduated from the training school on Wednesday.    

Antipala identified them as Pvt. Grace Allaga, wife of the late Cpl. Ardnie Allaga of the 10th Infantry Battalion; Pvt. Merzie Rogador, wife of the late Pfc. Eldon Rogador of the 51st Infantry Battalion; and Pvt. Christine Mary Montero, wife of the late Cpl. Marjone Montero, also of the 51st Infantry Battalion.

Rogador’s husband was the cousin of late Pfc. Dhan Ryan Bayot, who requested to bomb his location during the early stages of the hostilities during the Marawi siege.

Both Rogador and Bayot were in the same team and died in the same incident, while Montero’s husband was killed on Father’s Day at the height of the siege.

Allaga’s husband was killed in August 2017 while the troops were gaining ground and had captured the strategic positions of the Islamic State-inspired Maute group.  

Antipala said the three widows voluntarily joined the Philippine Army through special enlistment, pursuant to the order of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Meanwhile, Antipala said the 649 new soldiers will join the Army’s 1st and 11th Infantry Divisions, based in Labangan and Sulu, respectively, and the 54th Engineering Brigade based in Zamboanga City.

They comprise the Candidate Soldier Course Classes 592, 593, and 594 of the 1st Infantry Division, and Classes 595 and 596 of the 11th Infantry Division.

Antipala said that 25 members of the five classes belong to the 54th Engineering Brigade.

Moreover, Governor Abdusakur Tan of Sulu and Governor Victor Yu of Zamboanga del Sur led Wednesday the Entrustment of Firearms Ceremony for the 649 newly-graduated soldiers at Camp Sang-an that houses the Army’s 1st Infantry Division headquarters.

Tan said the ceremony was an acknowledgment that peace “cannot be achieved by a single organization or branch of the government,” but by the cooperation between the Army and civilians.

Meanwhile, Yu underscored the importance of the ceremony in instilling responsibility for the new soldiers “to protect the people and country.”

The new graduates will first undergo a mandatory Infantry Operations Course prior to their deployment to further equip them with the knowledge and skills of an infantryman. -PNA

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