Army’s 9ID welcomes back 'Good Samaritan' Battalion

PILI, Camarines Sur --- It was on September 15, 2016 when the 49th Infantry “Good Samaritan” Battalion was deployed in Butig, Lanao Del Sur to defend the province from terrorist activities being waged then by the ISIS-inspired Maute Group.

The terrorist group brought terror and fear and wrought havoc to the once peaceful province of Southern Philippines, with its vicious goal of establishing an islamic state in Marawi City.

To augment the need for more brave and dedicated men to ensure that the Maute group, then led by one of the top terrorist leaders, Owaida Benito Marohombsar alias Abu Dar would not succeed, the 9th Infantry “Spear” Division (9ID), saw the need to send the Good Samaritan Battalion and confront the enemies.

After successfully executing their mission of keeping the people from harm and finally obtaining peace, the group returned home after pouring their dedicated service for three years and nine months in Mindanao.

Waiting for their return were their jubilant family, loved ones, friends and all the Spear Troopers now headed by their newly installed Commanding General, BGen. Henry A. Robinson Jr., AFP.

In a press statement issued by the 9ID’s public affairs officer, Capt. John Paul Belleza, he said that the returning soldiers were warmly welcomed by their mother unit and a fitting heroes’ welcome was given to them.

“A hero’s welcome was accorded to LTC Benjamin Tapnio and his troops at Camp Elias Angeles last Monday, June 15 and the ceremony was led by no less than the 9ID commander, BGen. Henry A. Robinson, Jr., who recognized the significant contributions of the gallant and dedicated Good Samaritan Troopers during their stint in Mindanao and where the battalion contributed so much to the overall campaign against the terrorist groups in Mindanao," Belleza said.

Belleza said that the Good Samaritan soldiers also played a vital role in the liberation of Marawi City in 2017, especially in the decisive operations of subduing the remnants of Maute terrorist group, and substantially helped in the rehabilitation of the war-torn city.

Robinson lauded all the members of the battalion for their sacrifices and for the job well done.

“Being away from your mother unit undoubtedly challenged your capability and capacity to be adaptive with unpredictable changes. It molded your unit to be efficient, more capable, resourceful, and committed unit of 9ID. The proof was your significant involvement during the Marawi siege - you are part of that successful campaign of the AFP. Thus, it further reflects your commitment to duty wherever you are deployed and your diligence to accomplish the task well,” Robinson said.

Robinson also said that the battalion’s return will also strengthen the “thrusts of Joint Task Force (JTF) Bicolandia to eradicate the communist terrorist group (CTG) even as it continues to enjoin the communist group to peacefully return to the folds of law for genuine peace and armed conflict-free Bicol.”

The soldiers will also be a big help in the government’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, Robinson said. (with reports from PJBelleza, DPAO-PIAV/Camarines Sur)