By Francis Wakefield
The Philippine Army will commemorate tomorrow its 121st founding anniversary at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City, with the celebration focusing on their efforts to curb the rebellion in Marawi City.
Army spokesman Lt. Col. Louie D. Villanueva, said no less than the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), President Duterte will grace the activity as guest of honor and speaker.
Aside from the president, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP chief of staff Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero and Army chief Lt Gen. Rolando Joselito D. Bautista are also expected to grace the anniversary rite which has for its theme “Serving the People, Securing the Land”.
In an interview, Villanueva said this year’s anniversary will highlight the Arny’s accomplishment in curbing or stopping the five-month Marawi rebellion staged by members of the terrorist Maute Group.
It was recalled that a total of 168 government forces — 161 soldiers and seven policemen — lost their lives to liberate the war-torn city.
More than 900 Maute-Isis and 47 civilians also perished in the war which started on May 23, 2017.
“The highlight of the Army’s accomplishment is indeed curbing the Marawi rebellion. Aside from that, sustained operations against various threat groups specifically the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) gained ground as it translated to significant number of neutralized enemy either through armed encounters or surrender,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva said part of today’s anniversary ceremony is the showcasing of Army troops and capabilities and awarding ceremony for PA awardees, some of which served in Marawi.
“There are also others who will be recognized in other aspect of their contribution to the Army’s mission,” Villanueva said.
“The awardees will also include other stakeholders who in one way or the other helped the PA in its development programs,” he added.