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A gold cross medal, a new pistol, mobile phone, and financial assistance were among the incentives distributed by President Duterte to wounded government troops in Jolo, Sulu last Thursday.
The President visited 28 soldiers wounded in a recent battle with the Abu Sayyaf Group and expressed the government’s appreciation for their sacrifices for the nation. The soldiers belonging to the 41st Infantry Battalion were recuperating at the Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Jolo.
Army Capt. Jo-Ann D. Petinglay, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command, said the awardees were Lieutenant Colonel William George Cordova, the battalion commander; 1st Lieutenant Joe Mari Landicho, Sergeant Randy Balutoc, Sergeant Samian Calangan, Corporal Crispin Agoy, Corporal Brainard Dumondon, Corporal Ronald Allan Lorenzo, Corporal Jonathan Mukay, Corporal Mariel Reboredo, Corporal Ruben Olaso, Private First Class Jomar Avero, Private First Class Randy Culhi, Private First Class John Joseph Diaz, Private First Class James Layugan;
Private First Class Daniel Paclay, Private First Class Rebushsein Babo Stock, Private First Class Ronald Tabliago, Private First Class Jun Terrenal, Private First Class Kristian Ayangao, Private First Class Jomar Yap, Private First Class Jomer Dalayday, Private First Class Yasher Bayongan, Private First Class Emerson Awingan, Private Royman Talana, Private Julius Ancheta, Private Michael Xedric Adriatico, Private Judie Domingo, and Private Jeffrey Viernes.
“I am impressed by your performance here. Haping-happy ako,” Duterte said before a gathering of the troops at the military camp.
The President commended the bravery of the injured soldiers as he awarded them Wounded Personnel Medal. The wounded soldiers also received cash assistance, a Glock 30 .45 pistol, and brand new cellular phone from the President. The troops clashed with Abu Sayyaf insurgents in Talipao, Sulu last April 1.
In his remarks, the President pledged anew to provide better housing for soldiers following the takeover of their units by an urban poor group in Bulacan.
“Lahat ng maitulong ko sa inyo, ibibigay ko. Yung housing na inagaw ng mga mahirap lang rin, hayaan na ninyo ‘yan.
Gawaan ko kayo ng bago at ‘yung mas maganda,” Duterte said.
Before the end of the year, each soldier will also receive a brand new pistol to boost their safety whenever they leave the military camp, according to the President.
He also promised to pursue the peace initiatives with the Muslim separatists groups as well as the communists.
He said the government has started talks with Nur Misuari, leader of the Moro National Liberation Front, as well leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, to advance peace in the South.
“Nur Misuari is talking to me, sabi niya, konting panahon lang kasi ina-assemble niya ;yung mga tauhan niya dito,” he said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling and Francis T. Wakefield)