President Rodrigo Roa Duterte hailed the heroism Friday of soldiers fighting Islamist extremists in Sulu, promising them of his government’s full support to ensure their welfare and the well-being of their families.
“Today, I am deeply honored to join you in recognizing the extraordinary heroism of the officers and enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who showed exemplary heroism in the face of danger,” President Duterte said in a speech during a visit at Camp Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo, Sulu.
“They will be conferred with the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the rank of Kamagi, which I hope will further inspire the rest of our men and women in the AFP to continue serving our country no matter the cost.”
The President also commended the personnel of the Joint Task Force Sulu and the 11th Infantry Division for their recent gains against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), saying their determination has greatly reduced the ASG’s strength in the past year.
And as the country marks the second year of the bombing of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on January 27, he said the government’s presence is an assurance that “we will not just honor those who have perished in this tragedy”.
“We will also do everything in our power to prevent similar acts of cowardice and violence so that our people will never experience them again,” he noted.
The insurgency and terrorism that have been hounding the country for several decades hindered the nation’s growth, the President said, adding it’s the reason why he has high praises and respect for all those who risk their lives to maintain peace in the country.
“As we march onwards this new year, I am hopeful that we will continue to eliminate these terrorist groups in Sulu for good. With your support, I remain confident that we will prevail over the challenges that confront us,” he said.
“Be assured that the entire Filipino people is behind you as you secure genuine and lasting change for our motherland.”
And as the government gears towards mass vaccinating its citizens, President Duterte assured the members of the security forces that they will get the first COVID-19 jab as well as their families.
Aside from leading the conferment of the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the rank of Kamagi on 23 soldiers in Jolo, the President also witnessed the ceremonial distribution of food packs, and turned over a cheque to Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay.
Accompanying the President were Sen. Christopher Lawrence Go and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. PND