CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar—Through the military’s strong determination, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte expressed confidence on Wednesday that the government could soon end communist insurgency in Eastern Visayas, encouraging the rebels to abandon their ideology.
President Duterte arrived at Camp General Vicente Lukban in Catbalogan City to deliver his message to the troops and honor slain and injured soldiers following recent clashes with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
“With such valiant troops in the service of flag and country, I am confident that we can end the communist-terrorist scourge here in Region 8 sooner rather than later,” President Duterte said in a speech before the soldiers of 8th Infantry Division.
“This is why I encourage the remaining rebels to repudiate your outdated ideology, abandon your extremist activities, and return to the fold of the law.”
He assured the members of the 8th ID that they would get full government backing to fulfill their duty of securing the nation and protecting the people.
“This administration will work hard to meet all of your needs and that of your families, and all I ask is that you perform your responsibilities to the best of your abilities,” he said.
“It is now, more than ever, that we need to work hard and work together, if we are to bring the real, lasting, and meaningful change for the country.”
The President also acknowledged the efforts of the 8th ID in supporting more than 450 joint anti-illegal drug operations of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), resulting in the seizure of a considerable amount of illegal drugs and the arrest of several drug personalities.
The 8th ID has made significant accomplishments in combatting CPP-NPA terrorists in Eastern Visayas, the President said, stressing the division’s aggressive anti-insurgency efforts over the past 18 months have resulted in the capture and surrender of more than 1,500 members of the CPP-NPA and the recovery and surrender of dozens of firearms.
“I also salute our brave soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during an ambush by communist terrorists last April. Their sacrifice for our country will never be forgotten and their needs, including those of their families, will be taken care of,” he said.
Slain, injured soldiers conferred Order of Lapu-Lapu
Part of President Duterte’s Samar visit was the conferment of the Order of Lapu-Lapu on soldiers who died and wounded during separate clashes with the NPA in Samar.
The recipients of the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kampilan were Cpl. Eduardo Vigilia Jr., Cpl. Mark Lester Amparo, Pfc. Joseph Salonga, Pfc. Mark Louie Lantecsi, Pfc. Mark Kevin Frigillana, Pfc. Joemar Glenn Seligbon, Pvt. Delio Amaro, Pvt. Joseph Renel Gentalian, and Pvt. Rex Español.
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.
The President also led the handover of the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kalasag to the dependents of the soldiers who died during an April 23 ambush in Samar.
The soldiers (killed-in-action) posthumously given the Order of Lapu-Lapu were Cpl. Robert Bueno, Cpl. Alix Saliwan, Pfc. Danilo Constantino Jr., Pfc. Arthur Garcia, and Pvt. Elben Lagrimas.
The Kalasag medal, on the other hand, is awarded to officials and personnel of the government and private individuals who lost their lives as a direct result of their participation in an activity pursuant to a campaign or advocacy of the President. PND