ZAMBOANGA CITY — Twelve soldiers were given Wounded Personnel Medals by their commander-in-chief in Jolo on Saturday.
President Rodrigo Duterte visited the soldiers — two officers and 10 enlisted men — at the headquarters of Joint Task Force Sulu in Camp Teodulfo Bautista in the village of Busbus.
Joint Task Force Sulu is a multiagency team formed to combat banditry and kidnappings in the province.
Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said the President had pinned the medals on the soldiers.
The awardees were First Lieutenants Nino John Paner and Ian Solatre, Corporals Alan Bartolome and Jeric Ghil S. Villaruz and Privates First Class Reynan Maristela, Vergel Bali, Rhenievon Saliw-an, Jaifiryll Tamayao, Polard Banggawan, Jeremy Ganagan, Tonie Mar Talatayud and John Paul B. Annang.
They were all members of the Army’s 21st Infantry Battalion.
The soldiers were wounded in a clash with an Abu Sayyaf group led by a certain Almujer Yaddah in Patikul town on July 8.
The President immediately left after awarding the medals. He also skipped the scheduled “talk to the troops” session.
The Armed Forces had been fighting Abu Sayyaf for years but the terror group which was believed allied with the terror network al-Qaeda had continued to survive.
Several key Sayyaf leaders had already been killed but other leaders are still alive. —Julie S. Alipala
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