Jolo, SULU — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Saturday, August 25, commended the members of the Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS) for their relentless efforts to counter terrorist groups in the country.
During his speech, the President emphasized that insurgency and terrorism have always hindered the nation’s progress, especially in Mindanao.
Therefore, the Commander-in-Chief reminded the military personnel of their sworn duty to defend the Philippines and protect the Filipinos.
“You are here today for one reason only: Because you have answered the call to maintain peace and ensure safe communities for every Filipino,” President Duterte said during his speech at the covered court in Camp Teodulfo Bautista Headquarters, Barangay Bus-bus in Jolo, Sulu.
“I assure you that you have my full support as you conduct intensive military operations against these terrorist groups, particularly those who subscribe to the extremist ideologies of the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda,” Duterte added.
Furthermore, the President also mentioned that he is very humbled by the militaries’ dedication to serving the country, and also inspired by their resiliency.
“With your bravery, selflessness, and patriotism, I am optimistic that we will one day defeat all threats to our democratic institutions and secure a brighter future for our beloved country,” Duterte expressed.
“All I can say with pride: You are not alone in this fight. The Filipino people stand beside you, and I stand with you every step of the way as we advance the common good and promote the safety and security of our nation,” he added.
Meanwhile, before his speech, the Chief Executive visited 21 wounded-in-action soldiers at Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital (CTBSH) to uplift their morale. These soldiers are among the battle casualties in the recent encounters this month against the Abu Sayyaf Group in Patikul, Sulu.
Moreover, during his visit, Duterte personally awarded the wounded military officers the Order of Lapu-Lapu with the Rank of Kampilan in honor of their courage, bravery, and sacrifices in the service of the country.
The wounded soldiers who received the award were Sgt. Wilmar Salde, Sgt. Jonathan Mamalompong, Sgt. Alejandro Bautista, Sgt. Agripino Pagauitan, Sgt. Randy Menor, Cpl. Jeffrey Zippagan, Cpl. Jeramil Canipas, Cpl. Edward Tamangen Jr., Cpl. Arnel Walay, Cpl. Raffy Jay Hernal, Cpl. Joel Wawoc, PFC Delim Cawas, PFC Arnold Daria, PFC Raib Pannal, Pvt. Leo Molina, Pvt. Ronnie Galinggan, Pvt. Jonel Ramiscal, Pvt. Jackson Ramos, Pvt. Ruben Ruping Jr., Pvt. Jobert Galas, and Pvt. Jake Venezuela.
The Chief Executive told the wounded soldiers that he admires them for their bravery and patriotism, and assured them of the government’s assistance.
Present during the hospital visit were Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Department of Interior and Local Government Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez Jr., and Philippine Army Chief of Staff Major General Danilo Chad Isleta.