The Army sent additional troops to Basilan after the clash with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members that left 19 soldiers killed, a military spokesman confirmed Saturday.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz, meanwhile, visited the troops in the island-province to check on their “morale.”

Lieutenant Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said some 100 members of the Army Special Forces arrived in Zamboanga City “last week” en route to Basilan.

“Regular deployment ‘yun, galing Manila, sakay ng C-130… ‘yung dumating last week nandun na sa Basilan,” Cabangbang said in a phone interview.

“(There is) no let up against lawless elements even in Basilan,” Army spokesman Maj. Harold Cabunoc said for his part.

Meanwhile, Ortiz flew to Basilan Saturday after arriving from Indonesia. It was his first visit to the province after Col. Ramon Yogyog was installed as commander of Special Operations Task Force Basilan last Saturday, replacing Col. Alexander Macario.

“Bibisita siya (Ortiz) doon to assess the situation, hear the sentiments of the soldiers… to hear feedbacks from the soldiers,” Cabunoc said. (John Roson)

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