President Duterte awards a Gold Cross Medal to a soldier who performed exemplary acts while deployed in Sulu during his visit to Camp Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo the other day.
Medals for troops, aid for Moros
Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) - June 6, 2019 - 12:00am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Duterte conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the rank of Kampilan on 11 soldiers wounded in clashes with the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul, Sulu last May 31.

In a simple ceremony held at Camp General Teodulfo Bautista in Sulu last Tuesday, Duterte also vowed to provide the Tausugs shelter through the National Housing Authority.

The President then called on the Moro people to make peace with government, stressing the readiness of his administration to extend assistance.

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 the 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 wounded or suffered great loss of property as a direct result of their participation in such action.

During his meeting with the soldiers the President 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 of 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.

“At a time when you need your commander-in-chief to be with you, beside you and to die with you, I will be there,” the President said.

The awardees were among the troops that clashed with the Abu Sayyaf in a remote village in Patikul.

The bandits shot and killed their captive, Dutchman Ewold Horn, who tried to escape during the encounter with government troops. A wife of Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron and four militants also died during the encounter. ?Duterte also reiterated that he would not tolerate the brutality of extremists, who he said “corrupted” Islam. 

Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, commander of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the series of military offensives degraded the strength of the Abu Sayyaf, forcing them to be constantly on the run.

Dela Vega commended the forces of the Joint Task Force-Sulu (JTFS) in crushing the Abu Sayyaf.

He directed the troops to sustain the offensive since the bandit group has no high-profile captive left as hostage.

“By this time, we have no high-profile kidnap victim so we can sustain our momentum and defeat the Abu Sayyaf,” Dela Vega said. – Roel Pareño, Alexis Romero

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