Aspirants surpass longest, bloodiest test mission in special course training in Marawi

MARAWI, Philippines — With the conclusion of the combat operation in Marawi City, more than 200 military and police personnel have also completed their special course training.

The Marawi crisis served as their test mission before graduating and becoming a legitimate member of the Special Forces and Scout Rangers.

The five-month encounter in Marawi City is considered as the longest test mission in the history of those who’ve undergone training for the elite force.

“Hindi kami nag-iiwanan kahit anong mangyari. Kahit nasa ranger makikita mo na kayang gapangin yung mga wounded in behalf sa fire ng mga kalaban (We don’t leave anyone behind whatever happens. Even with rangers you can see that they can crawl through enemy fire to help a wounded comrade),” said graduate 1Lt. Bryan Palencia.

“Thank you din po sa mga stakeholders, sa mga sponsors namin lalo na sa pagkain, sa mga prayers po na kung wala sa inyo na nagbibigay ng lakas sa amin sa loob (Thank you also to the stakeholders, to the sponsors for the food, for all your prayers that strengthen our spirits),” he added.

Palencia said that what they had gone through was not a joking matter as they risked their lives in the field.

“Yung 1st day po namin dito sa Marawi may 25 po unang salang namin. Unang putok napatayan po kami agad ng tatlo po. Nagkaroon kami ng lakas ng loob na bumawi ,” he recounted.

(Translation: On our first day in Marawi, there were 25 men in the first batch.  At the first explosion we easily lost three. We found the courage to get even.)

“Di namin alam kung saan yung kalaban. Pumasok kami isang platoon, ang kalaban namin 100— akala namin mamamatay kaming lahat. Due sa tulungan namin naging succesful itong campaign para iliberate ang Marawi,” Palencia said.

(Translation: We didn’t know where the enemies were. We entered as one platoon, we were faced with 1oo enemies — we thought we were done for. By supporting each other, the campaign to liberate Marawi was a success.)

After the completion of the training, the graduates will be given one month to rest.

With this development, Army Chief Lt. Gen Joselito Bautista claimed that it was not only those who have gone through the test mission who learned lessons in the Marawi siege but the whole armed forces.

“Una namin natutunan dito is pagpasok at pag clear ng building. Sinabi ko nga sa kabundukan wala kang iki-niclear na building doon. Yung mga structures doon mga bahay kubo kaya wala kang masyadong hirap. Dito nahirapan kami lalo na sa approach at pag assault ng buildings,” Bautista said.

(Translation: The first thing we learned from the training is how to clear a building. I said to them, ‘In the mountains there are no buildings to clear. The structures there are bamboo huts so it’s not too hard.’ But here, we had a tough time particularly with approaching and assaulting buildings.)

Meanwhile, for the first time since the crisis ignited, Marawi City government has finally held its flag raising ceremony at the city hall.

Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra also ordered an investigation on the missing LGU equipment and documents despite the fact that the Maute ISIS group was not able to penetrate the city hall. – Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue

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