BACOLOD CITY – Silay City in Negros Occidental has joined the mourning for Pfc. Christopher Alada, a Philippine Army 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB) member who died during a clash with communist terrorists in Barangay Kapitan Ramon on Aug. 20.
The remains of the 31-year-old Alada have been brought home to his family in Barangay Indorohan, Badiangan, Iloilo on Saturday afternoon.
“The City of Silay mourns the passing of a great soldier who embodied bravery, selflessness, and heroism,” Silay Mayor Mark Golez posted on Facebook over the weekend.
Alada, a father of two, died following a 35-minute firefight with about 10 Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels in the vicinity of Hacienda Raymunda.
Two NPA fighters were also killed during the encounter which started at around 6 a.m. – Kerima Lorena Tariman (alias Ella/Em-em), 42, a poet and former editor of the Philippine Collegian, the official weekly student publication of the University of the Philippines Diliman, as confirmed by the NPA's Apolinario Gatmaitan Command in a statement on Saturday; and a certain Pabling.
“Pfc. Christopher Alada made the ultimate sacrifice. Our deepest condolences and prayers to (his) bereaved family. We pray that all citizens recognize that because of you, they have the freedom of speech and much more,” Golez said.
The mayor thanked the fallen soldier for his “sacrifice, for your service, for your valor, for protecting us, and for defending our nation”.
In a separate statement, Lt. Col. J-jay Javines, commanding officer of the 79IB, also extended his sympathies to the Alada family.
“We are saddened by the loss of our troop, but we salute his bravery and heroism. Rest assured that his sacrifices will not be futile,” he said.
Javines commended his men for their swift response to the reported presence of the communist-terrorists and lauded the locals for their cooperation during the operation.
“The lives of our soldiers are always at stake, but it is part of our sworn duty to protect the communities from terrorist abuses,” he added.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)