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PIA Press Release

PGMA visits Iloilo, condoles with families of slain soldiers

by ES Subong

Iloilo City (25 August) -- President Gloria will be in Iloilo today, August 25, to visit and condole with the families of Lt. Col Angelo Benitez and Cpl. Angel Abeto, slain in the on-going hostilities in Mindanao.

Earlier President Arroyo was deeply angered and frustrated by the treacherous acts committed by the Moro Islamic Liberation front (MILF) that have already claimed lives of several soldiers and civilians along the way.

Benitez was admired by his fellow officers and men for his gallant effort and bravery while serving as executive officer of the Army's 102nd infantry battalion until he died of a gunshot wound in the forehead when his troop was ambushed in Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte.

The Benitez family, who resides in Jaro, Iloilo City, will hold a two-week wake for him to allow his relatives from la Union to see him for the last time.

On the other hand Cpl. Abeto, who hails from Mandurriao, was buried August 22. He was among those wounded then later died when the MILF members attacked the Mrine Battalion Landing Team 10 in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the President, being wife and mother deeply felt for the families of the slain soldiers and civilians, especially the parents who are with their suffering children in evacuation centers in need of medical and food assistance, and of grieving parents who stand helpless as they see their loved ones in pain or in the throes of death.

Ermita also said that Arroyo detested the lack of determined control of the MILF commanders over their forces on the ground as it reflects their lack of sincerity to push for a successful conclusion of the peace process.

Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director Janet Mesa said the President's sole purpose in visiting Iloilo is to show her administration's recognition of the bravery of our soldiers and her deep prayer and desire for lasting peace. (PIA 6) [top]

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