ZAMBOANGA CITY — President Rodrigo R. Duterte paid tribute to the 15 military men who died for the Filipino nation during an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Patikul, Sulu last Monday, while the country was commemorating National Heroes’ Day.
The slain troops were part of the 21st and 35th infantry battalions conducting pursuit and blocking operations who encountered some 120 ASG members led by Radullan Sahiron.
President Duterte on Wednesday visited the wake of the heroic soldiers at the Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) gymnasium.
He shared the grief of the soldiers’ families and assured them of government support such as jobs for the widows, free basic education for the children, and automatic enrolment in the state-run 4Ps or conditional cash transfer program.
At the same time, the President lamented the cost of terrorism being waged by the ASG.
“Sayang ang gastos sa bala at armor na walang kakwenta-kwenta,” he said.
The President then proceeded to the WesMinCom’s Camp Navarro General Hospital and later to the Cuidad Medical Center, where he was mobbed by adoring crowds chanting “Duterte! Duterte!”
He conducted the hospital visits to comfort the soldiers wounded in action, who are now confined at the two major medical centers in Zamboanga City. PNA/northboundasia.com