JOLO— President Rodrigo Roa Duterte arrived here on Saturday, May 27, to personally extend financial assistance to soldiers wounded in action following the clashes against the Abu Sayyaf Group in Patikul, Sulu.
Duterte awarded the Wounded Personnel Medal to the wounded soldiers confined at Camp Teodulfo S. Bautista hospital here.
The injured members of the Army’s 10th Infantry Battalion were Corporals Rumy Dandoh, Roseller Olivar, Apidul Yahkob, Alkedin Abdurajik, Murphy Kasal, Sancho Antipolo Jr., and Rod Campion; and Privates Daryl Ando, and Alner Ronald Lacierda.
In his speech during the visit, the President appealed to all Muslims to join him in the fight against Muslim extremists in Mindanao, who, he said, are being financed by the drug trade.
The President also thanked the sacrifices of those fighting to bring peace in Mindanao.
“But we have to fight because it is the only country we have. Pagka nawala ito, ang Mindanao, pagka sumabog ito, wala na ang Pilipinas. Then it is a destroyed country. And, of course, we cannot allow that to happen,” Duterte said.
The President added the root cause of the present crisis is illegal drugs, noting Marawi City is the hotbed of meth manufacturing and trade in Mindanao.
The Abu Sayyaf, on the other hand, is an spillover of the Misuari faction, he said.
At the same time, the President reiterated his continuing support to soldiers in the field including the provision of housing.
He specifically mentioned the housing project in Davao City for soldiers and the urban poor.
“So bigyan lang ninyo ako ng konting panahon. Sana huwag ko na lang gastusin ‘yung pera ko sa giyera, sa bahay na lang,” he told the soldiers.
“But as I promised you, I will give you everything you need. Lahat ng hiningi ng ospital ninyo, dinala ko,” he said.