SAN NICOLAS, Pangasinan, Aug. 3 (PIA) - Video footages about the terror that the Maute group has wreaked over Marawi City have hounded Filipinos for months now.
The drama and saga of the battle between government troops and hostile forces have been witnessed by the entire world.
Little did Pangasinenses know that they would wake up one day to the news of armed men, particularly the New People’s Army (NPA), in a firefight with the police right in their own province.
On Friday, July 28, an encounter between government troops and NPA members happened particularly in Camps 3 and 4 in the boundaries of Barangays Sta. Maria and Malico in San Nicolas town.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) immediately took precautionary measures through hot pursuit operations in the area of responsibility.
“Stay calm, exercise caution, and continue to pray for the safety of the people and the municipality,” said Mayor Rebecca Saldivar.
PNP Provincial Director Ronald Lee said everything is now under normal condition in the entire sixth district of Pangasinan. Businesses and classes also resumed.
However, the loss of life during firefights always prove to be heartbreaking.
In that San Nicolas encounter, P02 Aries Tamondong of the PNP Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB), a native of Manaoag town, married and with four children, died in the performance of his duty.
Gov. Amado Espino III said the people of Pangasinan salute and honor the bravery and heroism of their kabaleyans.
“PO2 Tamondong's noble deed and ultimate sacrifice to ensure peace and order in our province deserve our deepest admiration, utmost respect and most profound gratitude,” Espino said.
Worth mentioning also is the collective force of the cops and soldiers who retrieved the slain body of P02 Tamondong and rescued PO2 Jonielon Marius Bagcal who was wounded and ultimately repulsed the rebel force.
Pangasinan lauds and salutes the courage and gallantry of the government troops not just in the San Nicolas encounter but also in the Marawi battle.
Though the lives lost could no longer be brought back, may the death of the fallen soldiers inspire those still fighting for peace to continue with their noble endeavor so that Filipinos could enjoy the freedom passed on by our forebears. (JNPD/VHS/PIA-1,Pangasinan)