ILOILO CITY, July 25– Troops of the Philippine Army’s 82nd Infantry Battalion based in Miag-ao, Iloilo who were deployed in Marawi City are very much appreciative of the support they get from President Rodrigo Duterte.
On Monday, President Duterte in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), reiterated his unwavering support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) telling them to “never fear” and continue doing their duties because he is standing behind them, including the government and its agencies.
Lieutenant Colonel Vener Morga, commanding officer of the 82nd IB, in a phone interview on Tuesday said that the President also showed his support when he visited them in Marawi City on July 20.
“We are really lucky that we have a President like him who is with us in times of crisis,” he stressed.
The 436-strong men and women of the 82nd IB were deployed to Marawi starting June 18. They were tasked to secure the evacuees and areas which have been cleared.
Morga, who is currently in Marawi, revealed that they were able to recover firearms from areas declared cleared of enemies.
To date, he said that they were able to recover 25 high- powered firearms to include machine guns, M-14 and M-16 rifles, among others.
Morga assured that his troops are safe. They occupy more than half of the areas cleared and not in the main battle site as he advised their families not to worry.
While none of them were injured since the deployment, troops are ordered to take extra precaution, especially when they roam the city using patrol cars to avoid ambush incidents, Morga said.
He added another challenge they will face is the real work once rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged properties in Marawi City will begin.
While the Marawi crisis is now on its “final stage,” Morga expressed hope that the crisis in the main battle area will soon end