President Rodrigo Duterte visited the wake of six soldiers who were killed in a firefight with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Eastern Samar.
Based on photos sent to Palace reporters by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go late Friday night, the President was seen checking the casket of each slain soldier at the Camp General Vicente Lukban in Catbalogan City, Samar.
In a text message, Go said Duterte spoke to the soldiers’ families to personally extend his sympathies and condolences, as well as financial assistance.
The President was initially scheduled to meet with farmers in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato but moved it to a later date to visit the wake of the military men who died while performing their duties.
The six soldiers were killed, while 20 others sustained injuries when the rebels detonated six explosives in remote Pinanag-an village in Borongan City, Eastern Samar on Monday afternoon.
Killed in action were Sgt. Rex Jadulco, corporals Ronald Go and Limar Banug; and privates 1st Class Kent Loyd Agullo, Charlie del Rosario, and Junmar Buranday.
Meanwhile, the President also visited the 20 wounded soldiers who were confined at the Camp Lukban hospital at the headquarters of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division in Catbalogan City.
In a press statement, Malacañang said the President conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu, rank of Kalasag, on the slain soldiers, and the Order of Lapu-Lapu, rank of Kampilan, on the wounded soldiers.
The Order of Lapu-Lapu is awarded to a government worker or a private individual who has rendered extraordinary service or made exceptional contributions to the success of the President’s campaign or advocacy. The Kalasag Medal is conferred on an individual who lost his life as a direct result of his participation in an activity pursuant to a campaign or advocacy of the President, while the Kampilan Medal is given to a person who was seriously wounded or suffered great loss of property as a direct result of his participation in such action.
Malacañang said the dependents of the slain soldiers, as well as the wounded soldiers, would also get financial support from the government through the Comprehensive Social Benefit Program.
Participating in the program are the local governments; the departments of trade and health; the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority; the National Housing Authority; the Armed Forces of the Philippines; the Commission on Higher Education; and the National Police Commission.
Earlier Friday, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar condemned the NPA bomb attack.
“Kinukondena po ng Presidential Communications Operations Office ang nangyaring pag-ambush sa mga sundalo ng Armed Forces of the Philippines kung saan ay anim agad ang namatay at 20 ang sugatan dahil nga doon sa mga improvised explosive devices na iniwan po ng mga rebeldeng CPP-NPA doon sa Borongan (The Presidential Communications Operations Office condemns the ambush of members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that killed six soldiers and wounded 20 others when the Communist Party of the Philippines – NPA rebels planted improvised explosive devices in Borongan),” Andanar said in a statement.
The NPA, the armed component of the communist movement, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)