MANILA — Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Sunday assured that dependents of the seven soldiers killed in Sulu clashes with Abu Sayyaf Group will receive assistance from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
”The dependents of the seven soldiers killed in action will receive burial benefits and financial assistance from the AFP,” Coloma said in a press briefing.
Coloma said the children of the slain Marine soldiers will also receive educational benefits, assistance from the Alay sa Kawal Foundation and special financial assistance under Republic Act 6963.
”Their surviving spouses will also receive old age pension, while the wounded personnel will also receive financial assistance from the AFP,” he said.
Based on the latest reports by AFP public information officer Col. Demy Zagala, Coloma said the heavy firefight between the government troops and ASG headed by Hairula Asbang took place at 6:30 p.m. on June 19 in Patikul, Sulu.
”The firefight occurred when the Marines were conducting patrol operations. The ASG suffered at least 10 fatalities while, on the government side, seven soldiers were killed in action and 13 others were wounded,” Coloma said.
The AFP reported that most of the government casualties were hit by enemy mortar fire.
Coloma said the Marines are presently conducting follow-on law enforcement operations in coordination with the Philippine National Police to locate and neutralize the ASG elements in the area.