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Marcos vows support for soldiers’ welfare

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Marcos vows support for soldiers� welfare
President Marcos talks to a soldier who was wounded in fighting the terrorist Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group involved in the bombing of the Mindanao State University in Marawi last month.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos yesterday visited the 12 soldiers wounded in recent clashes with the Maute Group in Lanao del Sur and assured them of the government’s continuous support for programs designed to promote their welfare.

Accompanied by top security officials, Marcos went to the Army General Hospital at Fort Bonifacio to honor the wounded military personnel and provide them financial aid from the Office of the President and the social welfare department.

He awarded the gold cross medals to S/Sgt. Jhonny Batucan Jr. and Pfc. Mark John Culaway to recognize their gallantry during the encounter as well as the military merit medals with bronze spearhead device to Pfc. Vicent Salvani and Pfc. Jheremy Addattu, who played vital roles during the operation.

In remarks delivered during his hospital visit, Marcos praised the soldiers’ courage and “unwavering dedication” to protect the Filipinos and the nation against security threats.

Marcos vowed to support programs that assist battle casualties and promote the welfare of soldiers and their families. He also assured the troops that his office is acting on the request of the Army General Hospital and Camp Evangelista Station Hospital for additional equipment.

Nine Dawlah Islamiya-Maute Group militants were killed during a series of firefights with government forces in Piagapo, Lanao del Sur late last month. The fatalities included suspects in the bombing of the Mindanao State University-Marawi last December, which left four people dead and dozens injured.

Also present during the hospital visit were Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr., Special Assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo, Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. and Army chief Lt. Gen. Roy Galido.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police also celebrated yesterday the achievements of at least 20 officers who showcased their service in the United Nations Mission, which is aimed at preserving peace and order in South Sudan.

PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. praised them in a speech during the flag raising ceremony at Camp Crame, citing their efforts and highlighted their courage, professionalism and commitment to peacekeeping.

The 20 awardees – composed of 13 policewomen and seven policemen – served in South Sudan for 12 months and were given the Medalya ng Kasanayan (PNP Efficiency Medal) during the ceremony.

Acorda emphasized the PNP’s commitment to upholding integrity, service and excellence, showcasing the strength of the Filipino spirit internationally.

He also urged professionalism and adherence to the rule of law, emphasizing the importance of trust in the police organization.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo highlighted the Philippines’ active participation in UN peacekeeping operations since 1963, deploying over 14,000 Filipino peacekeepers to various regions affected by conflicts worldwide.

He commended the PNP for enhancing the country’s reputation as a reliable contributor to UN peace operations by sending more individual police officers.

“Filipino peacekeepers have played critical roles not just in peacekeeping but also in rebuilding communities, health care and promoting human rights, especially in regions affected by climate change and complex geopolitical conflicts,” Manalo said.

He congratulated the Filipino police peacekeepers for their commitment to peace, emphasizing the Philippines’ continued support for UN peacekeeping operations. — Mark Ernest Villeza

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