Soldiers slain in Marawi attack considered as ‘heroes’ by relatives

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 25 May) Two soldiers killed in last Tuesday’s attack in Marawi City who were from North Cotabato were considered by their grieving relatives as “heroes” for giving up their lives for the sake of peace.

Killed were 1Lt. John Carl Morales of Malvar Street, Poblacion, Kabacan, North Cotabato, and Sgt. Marlon Baldovino of Barangay Dagupan, also in Kabacan.

Baldovino, 40, was hit in the head by a sniper, according to his brother Joefel. “For us, Marlon is a hero. He has fought the good fight. I just hope peace will reign in Mindanao after all these things,” said Joefel, who is also a soldier.

Marlon belonged to the elite Special Forces. Joefel said he had been into several wars with different terror groups since joining the Armed Forces in the late ’90s.

Joefel said it was Marlon’s wife who informed them of his death right after his commanding officer broke the news.

Morales, like Baldovino, was also a member of the Special Forces.

Their bodies are expected to arrive in Kabacan anytime this week, relatives said.

Twelve others, among them soldiers, were also wounded in the firefight in Marawi City between government soldiers and the Maute Terror Group.

The fighting in Marawi, according to military, started when soldiers staged an operation against Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was spotted along with an estimated 15 followers in the area, many of them members of the Maute Terror Group.

Hapilon was reportedly chosen to lead the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) branch in Southeast Asia.

The terror group had reportedly occupied some establishments in Marawi and held hostage some people, including a Catholic priest. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)