Government troops head for a continuing military operation against Muslim militants who lay siege in Marawi city Friday, May 26, 2017 at Bal-oi township, Lanao del Norte province in southern Philippines. Philippine army generals say dozens of Islamic State group-linked extremists have been killed in two days of fighting in a southern city that has been under siege since one of Asia's most-wanted militants evaded capture and dozens of rebels came to his aid. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

Wesmincom marks 11th anniversary by donating blood to wounded comrades
Roel Pareño ( - September 24, 2017 - 8:12am
ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) went on a low profile celebration on its 11th anniversary on Saturday as its personnel and officials instead focused on donating blood for wounded comrades still battling the pro-ISIS Maute group in Marawi City, a security official said.
Wesmincom chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said troops who were not given the chance of showing their heroism in the field were still heroes for sharing their blood to save the lives of their fellow soldiers fighting in the forefront in Marawi against the terrorist group.
“This good deed bridges the lives of our wounded comrades who braved the battleground. Our gratitude goes to those who have donated blood for the sake of our battle casualties,” said Galvez as he led the celebration of Wesmincom's founding year.
The bloodletting was organized Saturday by the Wesmincom Unified Command Staff for Civil-Military Operations (U7). Troops from the Joint Task Force Zamboanga, 54th Engineering Brigade, 3rd Tactical Operation Command (formerly 3rd Air Division) and the Naval Force Western Mindanao participated.
The military said the blood units would be made available to the emergency trauma center in the battlefield once needed by the operating forces.
Galvez also told the soldiers here that they were just counting the days until the defeat of the remaining Maute group fighters.
He said the movement of the Maute group has been limited within a 10-hectare area.
The troops have retaken the Grand Mosque, Jamiatul Philippines Al-Islamiya School, Bato Ali Mosque, Bangolo and New Masiu Bridges, Pacasum Square in Barangay Marinaut.
The fighting that began since May 23 has already left 691 Maute members and 151 soldiers killed in Marawi City.

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