Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City – November 12, 2022

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Seventeen soldiers of the 64th and 18th Infantry Battalions and 12th Division Reconnaissance Company under the Joint Task Force Basilan were accorded the Wounded Personnel Medal by Department of National Defense Senior Undersecretary Jose Faustino, Jr. during his visit to Zamboanga City on November 11, 2022.

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The soldiers including a junior officer were recognized by the OIC, DND after sustaining wounds in the three-day conflict with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (MILF-BIAF) in Barangay Ulitan, Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan on November 8-10. Moreover, the Headquarters, Philippine Army represented by its Vice Commander, Maj. Gen. Adonis Bajao also handed cash assistance to the wounded personnel. While representatives from MBAI and AFPSLAI also handed some assistance to said soldiers.

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During his visit to Western Mindanao Command, Senior Undersecretary Faustino also spearheaded a conference with the top officials of the command led by Marine Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, the Acting Commander of WestMinCom. Also present were the following: Brig. Gen. Antonio Nafarrete, Commander of Joint Task Force ZamPeLan; Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, Commander of Joint Task Force Basilan; Presidential Assistant David Diciano and Chairman of the GPH Peace Implementing Panel under OPAPRU.

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Senior USec. Faustino stressed that the primacy of the peace process must be sustained. “We must continue to support the peace agreement and maintain the organization’s integrity. We should remain a formidable force capable of sustaining stability in our area of operation.”

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The OIC, DND also expressed his appreciation to the provincial government of Basilan led by Governor Jim Hataman Salliman and Congressman Mujiv Hataman for their invaluable contributions that aided in the pacification of the tension between the military and MILF in Ungkaya Pukan. He also extended his commiseration to the bereaved families of the three fallen soldiers who were killed in action during the conflict.
Brig. Gen. Gobway presented a security briefing and reported the positive outcome of the peace agreement forged by the representatives of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and MILF peace panel which was held at the 101st Infantry Brigade Headquarters in Barangay Tabiawan, Isabela City, Basilan on Thursday (November 10).

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Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Rojas said that the peace panel must expedite the decommissioning process in areas where tensions occasionally occur. “We should also continue integrating our efforts to come up with a feasible solution to prevent such incidents to happen again.”

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