JOLO, Sulu—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte paid tribute to injured soldiers fighing the Abu Sayyaf Group by conferring them the Order of Lapu-Lapu with rank of Kampilan during his camp visit to Camp General Teodulfo Bautista in Sulu.
President Duterte conferred on Tuesday the Order of Lapu-Lapu on 11 soldiers wounded during the May 31 encounter with the Abu Sayyaf Group at Barangay Pansul, Patikul, Sulu.
The recipients of the Order of Lapu-Lapu were Cpl. Arsenio Opaco Jr., Cpl. Sonny Jumoc, Pfc. Edwin Yurong, Pfc. Edeson Alom, Pfc. Abduhasad Baladji, Pcf. Joevertt Ramirez, Pvt. Dominic Osorio, Pvt. Jeric Peñaredondo, Pvt. Raymund Balambao, Pvt. Ramil Diaz Jr., and Pvt. Albert Daligdig.
Two other soldiers, who sustained major injuries, were airlifted to Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City. They were Pfc. Haliboy Calapiz and Pfc. Dieth Sarabe.
The Order of Lapu-Lapu is given to persons in government or private sector who have rendered extraordinary service or have made exceptional contributions to the success of the President’s campaign or advocacy.
The Kampilan medal is conferred on persons who were seriously wounded or suffered great loss of property as a direct result of their participation in such action.
During his meeting with the soldiers stationed at Camp Teodulfo Bautista, the President also awarded the Gold Cross Medal to Lt. Col. Abdulmoel Alamaia, Lt. Col. Ronaldo Amteo, 1st Lt. Romel Pacer, 1st Lt. Geronimo Vergara, Cpl. Ariel Sanchez, Cpl. Engelbert Tañan, and Cpl. Reylan Busmeon.
He also led the donning of ranks to Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo and Brig. Gen. Andres Centino.
Addressing the soldiers, the President said his camp visits are intended to recognize their bravery and boost their morale by ensuring his continued support.
“Sa panahon na kailangan ninyo ang inyong commander-in-chief to be with you, beside you, and to die with you, nandito ako sa mga panahon na ‘yan,” the President said.
He also vowed payment of soldiers’ hazard pays for the recent months.
The President then called on the Moro people to make peace with his government stressing the readiness of his administration to extend assistance.
For instance, President Duterte said he would ask the National Housing Authority to build shelters for the Moros, especially the Tausugs.
Highlighting the threat posed by violent extremism, he said Islam is a great religion but it has been corrupted by the Islamist extremists. He vowed not to tolerate their brutality. PND