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PIA Press Release

Army colonel shares honors given by PGMA with his men

By Ninfa B Quirante

Iligan City (23 October) -- The Army colonel given recognition for his battalion's efforts to chase Umbra Kato but missed to receive award from PGMA does not own credits for the "humble gains' as he termed it, he shares it with his men.

When sought by Catbalogan media, Lt. Col Bonifacio Cebrian, Battalion Commander of the 46th Infantry Battalion (IB) said in a text message that, "the 46th IB is one of the battalions addressing the lawless elements MILF group led by terrorist Umbra Kato."

"We have made humble gains in our operation against them to prevent them from terrorizing the people and hamper economic development," the text message read.

"Kato and his criminal group are on the run, they have resorted to guerilla operations like landmine and ambushcades," Cebrian added.

Cebrian was once assigned with the same battalion in Erenas, San Jorge, Samar where he established ties with the local media in Catbalogan City..

Although it was reported that officer was demoralized when he lost his men because of NPA attacks in Samar, the army colonel's spirit was heightened in Mindanao when he was recognized for his bravery with a Bronze Cross along with some 20 more army elements and officials.

Presently, Cebrian said they are in Datu Piang and still operating to prevent Kato from sowing more terror in the area.

As reported earlier, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was about to start her visit to the 6th Infantry "Kampilan Division" at Camp Siongco in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, last Saturday morning, when another armed confrontation followed at the nearby Talayan town in Maguindanao between government troops and the MILF rebels of the 105th Base Command.

Army Lt. Colonel Bonifacio Cebrian, Battalion Commander of the 46th IB disclosed that two days earlier, they have received intelligence reports of the presence of armed groups massing in Barangay Muslim, Talayan, Maguindanao. In an attempt to drive away the reported armed groups, the troops were met with heavy resistance and the fighting ensued.

Based on their estimate, there were about 200 MILF rebels who have engaged them to battle during the encounter. The group was believed to be under the command of Commander Talio, alleged right hand man of Commander Ameril Umbra Kato.

The engagement which lasted for about two hours was so intense that they have to use the air assets of the Philippine Air Force for fire support against the heavily fortified men of Commander Kato, Cebrian said.

Col Cebrian was about to attend the ceremonies at Camp Siongco when he was informed about the encounter. With proper permission from the division command, he chose to return to his command post and stayed with his troops during the encounter.

Following her visit at the middle of this year to visit the flood victims in Cotabato City, President Arroyo visited again Camp Siongco, home of the 6th ID to show her concern for the bereaved families of those brave soldiers who have sacrificed their lives during the course of the conflict and the fighting men of the armed forces who were wounded in action. (PIA Samar with CLC-EBC-PICC-Kid) [top]

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