President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday honored 129 soldiers and policemen slain in the war against local terrorists Maute group in Marawi City with Order of Lapu-Lapu Medal of Kalasag.
Duterte awarded the medals to the cops and militaries, and to Police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido who administered the Ozamiz City drug raid that caused the killing of the members of the Parojinog clan, during the celebration of the National Heroes’ Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.
“Today, we confer the Order of Lapu-Lapu on individuals who rendered extraordinary service to our country… I cannot thank them enough for their valuable service to our nation, and we shall forever be in debt,” the president said.
The 129 soldiers and policemen were killed in the battle against the Islamic State-inspired Maute group in Marawi City. The war started on May 23 pressing Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.
Espenido, on the other hand, spearheaded the raid at the compound of the Parojinog clan last July resulting in the death of Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, his wife Susan, his brother board member Octavio Parojinog Jr., sister Mona and 11 others.
The Lapu-Lapu Medal of Kalasag, created through Executive Order No.17, is given to government officials and individuals who rendered exceptional and invaluable service and contributions to the campaigns and advocacies of the president.
Duterte said the efforts of the awardees building a “better life for the people” have earned them the right to be called as heroes. He added the award is a responsibility more than just an honor.
“To the awardees fortunate enough to be here with us today, your contributions to our efforts to build a better life for our people have earned you the right to be called heroes. Treat it not as an honor but a responsibility and always live your lives in a manner befitting the title,” the president said.
Duterte expressed confidence that the Philippines would emerge triumphant over difficulties it is facing as a nation.
“In the face of the difficulties we are facing as a nation, I am confident that we can overcome the challenges and emerge triumphant for the simple reason that it is through tough times that heroes like you are made,” Duterte said.