Former commander honors Marawi siege dead

Carmela Fonbuena
Former commander honors Marawi siege dead
In solemn commemoration, former Marawi commander Carlito Galvez Jr runs his fingers over the names of soldiers killed in a siege

MARAWI CITY, Philippines — “This is the time to remember their names one by one,” said former Marawi commander Carlito Galvez Jr.

In a solemn ceremony inside the 103rd Infantry Brigade, he joined troops and local officials on Thursday, October 17, for the 2nd year commemoration of the siege that killed 168 soldiers.

Galvez ran his fingers down the names of each one on the plaques standing inside the camp, pausing longer over several names, as guests watched in silence.

Photos by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

Photos by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

Photos by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

In the background, the military band played a solemn rendition of Pilipinas Kong Mahal. “Ang puso ko at buhay man, sa iyo ibibigay. Tungkulin ko’y gagampanan.” 

Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra joined Galvez in front of the names and then pointed at first name.

First Lieutenant Carl Morales was the first soldier killed in the siege, deployed to reinforce the mayor to the City Hall but didn’t make it.

Lanao Del Norte Governor Maminta “Bombit” Adiong, BARMM officials, and Task Force Bangon Marawi chief Eduardo Del Rosario joined them too.

Together they remembered other names such as Captain Rommel Sandoval, who was given the Medal for Valor award posthumously.

CEREMONY. BARMM Vice Minister Solaiman also attends the commemoration ceremony in Kampo Ranao. Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

KAMPO RANAO. Current officers of the 103rd Infantry Brigade join the ceremony, too. Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

HIJAB TROOPERS. Females officers specially trained to respect cultural sensitivities in the region continue yo serve in Marawi. Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

“I will never forget them,” said Galvez, admitting the burden as one of the commanders during the siege. 

“I’d like to tell the people this is how soldiers gave their lives to liberate Marawi from the clutches of terrorism. That is the oath of soldiers,” Galvez said.

From Kampo Ranao, Galvez proceeded to nearby Mindanao State University to attend a peace forum.

The former chief of the Western Mindanao Command has since retired from the military and taken a new task as Secretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

Hindi namin kakalimutan ang Marawi at hindi namin kayo iiwanan,” he told an audience of students. 

He’s still fighting the same enemy. But he is no longer holding a gun. — Rappler.com

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