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Marawi troops receive warm welcome in Maguindanao

Personnel of three rapid reaction companies of the 6th Infantry Division arrived at Camp Siongco in Maguindanao on Saturday after a five-month engagement in Marawi City. Philstar.com/John Unson

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — A rousing welcome greeted on Saturday the 225 members of three elite companies of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division who fought militants in Marawi City.

Officials of 6th ID, led by Major Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, took turns thanking the personnel of the division’s 61st, 62nd and 63rd Reconnaissance Companies who helped in liberating Marawi City from Maute and Abu Sayyaf gunmen.

The three companies, trained in quick emergency reaction and in commando-style assaults, arrived past 10 a.m. Saturday at Camp Siongco in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao from Marawi City.

“They left Marawi City before dawn (Saturday) and their travel from there to Camp Siongco lasted for about five hours,” Dela Vega said.

Dela Vega said six of the soldiers they dispatched to Marawi City — Sergeants Vergel Dela Cruz and Marlon Hechanova, Private 1st Class Jayson Palma, and Privates Aljon Jimenez, Ryan Tamonan and Joshua Gerald Cagud — were wounded in encounters with Maute terrorists.

“Our men are lucky none of them perished in their combat engagements there. We are thankful to those who prayed for their safety and welfare,” Dela Vega said.

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Officials of the three companies said it was difficult fighting terrorists in urban settings but their men zealously persisted in clearing the areas they were tasked to reclaim from enemies.

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