By Edwin Fernandez

RESPECT. Vice President Sara Duterte visits the wake of four soldiers slain in an ambush by local terrorist group at Camp Siongco, Maguindanao del Norte Monday afternoon (March 18, 2024). The Vice President extended financial aid to relatives of the soldiers, whom she called heroes. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao del Norte – Vice President Sara Duterte visited this camp Monday afternoon to pay respects to the four soldiers slain in an ambush by suspected Dawlah Islamiya (DI) terrorists in Datu Hoffer Ampatuan town the day before.

Duterte spoke to the bereaved families of the slain soldiers of the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion and 3rd Army Cavalry, all under the 601st Infantry Brigade.

They were on their way back to camp when ambushed in Barangay Tuayan 1 on Sunday morning.

Duterte described the slain soldiers as “our heroes for offering their lives for our flag and our country.”

She also gave cash assistance to the soldiers’ immediate relatives.

The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a local terrorist group allied with the DI, claimed responsibility for the attack.

It said the ambush was in retaliation to government forces’ continuing offensive.

Meanwhile, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim condemned the atrocities against government forces doing Ramadan-related activities in Maguindanao del Sur.

“These cowardly acts of violence not only threaten our daily lives but also undermine the hard-won peace and stability in our region. The actions of these peace spoilers seek nothing but to sow discord and create mistrust among our people,” Ebrahim said in a statement.

Ebrahim has also ordered the grant of financial assistance to the victims and their families. (PNA)