Tale of Heroes: Kalinga soldier among the first to die in Marawi siege

Image from Josephine Jaron Codilla's Facebook post

MANLA, Philippines  –  A soldier from Kalinga Apayao was among the first to die when a group of armed terrorist launched a bloody attack in Marawi City last week.

Cpl. Benito G. Serrano from Conner, Kalinga Apayao is a member of the 4th Light Reaction Company and of Scout Ranger Class 176.

He died on Tuesday, May 23, along with Sgt. Marlon Baldovino of North Cotabato, on the first day of the Marawi attack.

According to a Facebook post by Josephine Jaron Codilla, Serrano’s wife is a teacher in  Tagbina, Surigao del Sur and is due to give birth to their second child this June.

His senior officer described the fallen soldier as “mabait, masipag at tahimik na bata” [a kind, hardworking and silent kid]  and  “one of the bests”.

Another soldier, 1Lt. John Carl Morales, also of North Cotabato, is said to have died on the same day, while Army corporal Angelo Estores Jr. was killed two days later.

Serrano, Baldovino, Morales and Estores are among the 21 members of government troops whose young lives were cut short because of their call of duty to defend the country from terrorists like the Maute Group.

According to Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, the security forces have killed 89 gunmen fighting the government troops in Marawi, a week after the bloody siege, which also claimed the lives of 19 innocent civilians.