President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in Jolo on Friday, Nov. 25 to visit and extend assistance to wounded soldiers fighting the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu.
The President arrived at Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital 2 p.m. and talked to the 13 wounded soldiers confined at the military hospital. He also met the families of the soldiers killed and injured in the Sulu fighting.
Duterte handed over P100,000 special financial assistance (SFA), additional P10,000 cash to each of the 13 injured infantrymen.
The families of those killed in combat, who were also present, were also given P250,000 special financial assistance (SFA) and additional P20,000 cash.
All the wounded and the kin of those killed also received additional financial assistance from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which was handed over by the President.
The injured soldiers, admitted at the hospital last November 18, were 2nd Lt. John Paul Bacsain, Ssg. Abdunnur Said, Cpl. Arasad Kahil, Sgt. Ramon Medel, Cpl. Julius Montealto, Cpl. Jeffrey Barino, Cpl. Saldi Sabdani, Cpl. Luisito Bago, Pfc. Alizon Ayoman, Ssg. Aasam Abdulmajid, Sgt. Danny Sakiri, Pfc. Jurich Givero, and Pfc. Muhaliddin Mariga.
Those killed in action were Sgt. Sikal Akjam, Sgt. Abrojer Sakili, and Pvt. Joel Decierdo, Cpl. Ronnie Navarro.
The same day, the President flew to Zamboanga in the afternoon to visit soldiers wounded in action in Sulu at the Camp Don Basilio Navarro General Hospital inside the Western Mindanao Command Headquarters.
Duterte personally awarded P100,000 special financial assistance (SFA), additional P10,000 and a Glock 30 pistol for each of the 9 soldiers wounded in action.
In the press conference that followed, President Duterte reiterated his call for peace not only with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed component, the New People’s Army (NPA); the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF); the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but also the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
“I can be nasty. I can do an all-out war and invade the Island but there will be huge losses pati civilians which is really what matters most,” said President Duterte as he stressed his authority as Chief Executive. But said that he would not resort to it because he is more concerned about the civilians and worried about huge casualties such an action may inflict upon the local populace.
“What matters most are the civilians. Would it bring us peace if we use force?” the President asked.
President Duterte also emphasized that it is only hatred that would be gained if he committed to an escalation of the war against the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Instead of intensifying military operations, the President prefers building hospitals in Sulu. “Ako na mismo ang magtingin na magkaroon ng ospital na maayos,” the President said.###PND