DUMAGUETE CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday evening personally handed over posthumous awards to the families of the six policemen who were killed in an ambush last July 21 in Barangay Magsaysay, Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental by alleged Communist terrorists.
President Duterte arrived at the Guihulngan City Hall shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday where four of the six caskets bearing the slain cops were brought for his viewing.
As he paid tribute to the fallen policemen, he handed the Medalya ng Kadakilaan (PNP Heroism Medal) posthumous awards of the Philippine National Police to the family members in attendance.
Of the six killed, there were four whose remains were brought to the City Hall, namely, those of SPO2 Necasio Pasculado Tabilon, PO3 Teovic Gador Agosto, PO2 Alvin Paul Alquizola Bulandres and PO2 Alfredo Lastimoso Dunque.
The remains of the late Guihulngan police chief, Supt. Arnel Arpon, were earlier brought to Hinobaan, Negros Occidental while those of SPO1 Jesael Pequero Ancheta were in Jimalalud, Negros Oriental although their families were present during the President’s visit.
The President had a private talk with the families later, after which he disclosed in a brief interview with local and national media that each of the families would receive a total of Php500,000.00 and other cash incentives, free education for their children, livelihood package and enrollment to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, among others.
Last July 21, about 15 police officers responded to a call for assistance after Guihulngan City Councilor Edison Dela Rita told the city administrator he and his two companions were allegedly ambushed by suspected Communist terrorists at Sitio Mandii, Barangay Magsaysay in that northern city.
Investigation showed that about 60 to 80 alleged communist terrorists had carried out the ambush, which resulted in the death of the six policemen and a civilian, Michael Jambalos, the aide of Councilor Dela Rita.
Speaking to reporters briefly in Guihulngan, President Duterte lambasted the New People’s Army terrorists reiterating that he is no longer interested in holding peace talks with them and that government is ready to fight them for another 50 years.
But he stressed he is not angry with them. “Pag pikon ka, talo ka” (if you’re touchy, you lose)”.
President Duterte later flew to Dumaguete City to meet with the three other police personnel who were wounded in the same ambush and are confined at the Silliman University Medical Center.
The wounded police personnel, namely, SPO4 Jerome Delara, PO2 Jorie Maribao and PO3 Jordan Balderas, each received the Sugatang Medalya (PNP Wounded Personnel medal) and some financial assistance.
For his part, Guihulngan City Mayor Guido Reyes extended his gratitude, on behalf of his constituents, to President Duterte for coming over to pay tribute to the fallen policemen.
That speaks of the President’s compassion and it means a lot to the people, Reyes, who had just arrived earlier that day from an official trip abroad, told reporters in an interview later.
Reyes lauded the President’s pronouncement of hoping that there was a way out to solve the insurgency problem in Guihulngan without having to kill these “terrorists”.
The mayor said the local government unit is also setting aside financial assistance to the slain and wounded police officers. Judy Flores Partlow/PNA-northboundasia.com