By Roy Mabasa
United States President Donald J. Trump has expressed his condolences to the Philippines for the death of 11 soldiers in a clash with Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Patikul, Sulu on Friday, April 17, 2020.
According to the US Embassy in Manila, Mr. Trump conveyed his message of sympathy during a telephone conversation with President Duterte on Sunday where the two leaders primarily discussed possible cooperation in fighting the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The two leaders also discussed how the United States and the Philippines can continue building upon the strong and enduring economic, cultural, and security ties binding the two nations,” the Embassy said in the statement.
Aside from the 11 soldiers killed, 14 others were wounded in what the Philippine Army described as “the most devastating encounter for the military in a long while.”
In the same conversation, the US president expressed his solidarity and offered additional assistance to the Philippines in its effort to contain the spread of the pandemic.
“Both leaders agreed to continue working together as long-time allies to defeat the pandemic, save lives, and restore global economic strength,” the US Embassy added.