By Elena Aben
President Rodrigo Duterte flew to Sulu on Monday, October 31, to personally confer the Wounded Medal Award to eight soldiers who sustained injuries in an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu on Sunday.
The commander-in-chief also gave P100,000 cash and a Glock pistol to the wounded soldiers at the Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Jolo.
The eight soliders belonged to the 21st Infantry Battalion, led by Lt. Col. Presco Lobos, who were on field military operations when they figured in a clash with ASG members around 12:44 p.m. on Sunday in Barangay Panglayahan, Patikul, Sulu.
The encounter reportedly left two ASG gunmen dead and several others wounded.
The president was joined by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya, Army chief Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año and AFP chief surgeon Brig. Gen. Mar Mejia in visiting the wounded troops, said Marine Col. Edgard A. Arevalo, AFP public affairs office head.
Since assuming the presidency, Duterte has been personally visiting troops killed or wounded in the line of duty.
He has also ordered the military to “search and destroy” the ASG.