By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte hailed members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for their efforts in securing the country from threats.
Addressing the Army’s 401st Infantry Brigade Saturday night, the President did not hide his admiration for the troops.
“I would like to commend the men and women of the Eastern Command for a wonderful performance. You were able to dismantle one, two — Maganda ang pinakita ninyo sa bayan (You have served your country well) and I give you my salute,” he said.
The President recalled it has been a year since he last visited the 401st IB in Camp Bancasi. “I have proudly witnessed the hard work, dedication, and bravery of the men and women of the 401st brigade in maintaining law and order in your operations,” he said.
He cited the success of the AFP particularly in fighting insurgency and illegal drugs.
“Through your valiant and relentless efforts, you have neutralized, apprehended and facilitated the surrenders of the regulars, Militia ng Bayan members, Sangay ng Partido Lokal members and more than 500 underground mass organization members. This led to the recovery of hundreds of firearms and explosives, and the discovery of enemy encampments,” he said.
“Your steadfast support in the campaign against illegal drugs has not only resulted in the confiscation of shabu worth over P11 million, but also led to the neutralization of drug personalities, securing the provinces of Agusan del Sur and Surigao del – Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur,” he said.
Duterte also honored the troops who died while performing their duties.
“These accomplishments, however, came at a price. Many have been wounded and lives have been lost. I share my grief with you,” he said.
“I, together with the Filipino people, are truly grateful for the gallantry of our wounded and fallen comrades and the courage of our troops to continue to make great sacrifices to defend our land, uphold peace, and secure the freedom we now enjoy,” he added.
Despite this, Duterte said there is still much more to be done to fully quell the “ills that plague” the country.
“I assure you that you are not alone in this fight. As long as you perform your mandate in accordance with law, this administration will remain steadfast in supporting your organization and provide you with the necessary tools and resources that enable you to effectively fulfill your duties as defenders of the nation,” Duterte said.
“If it is in the performance of your duty and you face charges, criminal and all, you need not worry… Performing a duty for a nation is a noble job. I will not allow a single soldier to stay in prison even for one day. That is my promise to you,” he added.
The President also announced a financial assistance to the brigades so they can celebrate.
“Each brigade will get, we have to give you P100,000 each para pang-blowout ninyo pag-uwi ninyo sa kampo (so you can celebrate when you return to your camps),” he said.
Duterte promised to give the soldiers Rolex watches next time.