Fallen soldiers given presidential honors PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 September 2016 14:31

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

It was a sad occasion the other day at the Westmincom Gym where the mortal remains of 15 fallen soldiers were laid. President Rodrigo Duterte made a special trip to Zamboanga City last Wednesday to pay his respect and offer his prayers for the fallen soldiers before they will be brought to their homes in the provinces for their final resting place. The President also assured the surviving immediate family members that he will not abandon the grieving widows and their children. He promised direct financial and livelihood assistance from the government. The President said all the widows will be given jobs, automatic membership in the 4Ps program, a supply of one sack of rice every month and government scholarship for their children  enrolled in government schools.

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After the President saluted and offered his prayers one by one to the fallen soldiers, he gave his message amidst a teary-eyed audience in the gym. In his speech, the President appealed and offered his personal “sorry” to the immediate families. President Duterte also called the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), that “it is enough that they kill our soldiers in a shooting war but what he did not like was why mangle and dismember the bodies of our soldiers” He also warned our soldiers that if ever they are in an encounter, they should treat the bodies of ASG with respect and not mangle their corpse, “One bullet is enough and if they see the enemy is already dead, never shoot them with more bullets to destroy their physical bodies”. The President also promised to continue the operation in Jolo and Basilan.

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After giving honors and assistance to the fallen soldiers in the gym, the President proceeded to the Camp Navararo Hospital to visit those soldiers being treated for wounds inflicted by the ASG in their latest  encounter. The President distributed “Military Medals of Honor” and some cash assistance. In a press interview, the President called the fallen soldiers and those wounded in action as “heroes” and promised to take care of them. Many people in the audience were moved to tears upon seeing the President’s gesture of sincerity, even those wounded in action were teary-eyed by the President’s fatherly treatment shown on them.

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Table Talk was informed by a reliable source that some ASG members are indeed in Zamboanga City from Jolo, Sulu. They arrived in the city via motorized twin engine pumboats to escape the offensive being waged by the Armed Forces. The source advised some city officials to take precautionary measures that incident similar to the MNLF siege two years ago will not be repeated. If this is indeed true and verified, shoreline communities in the city should have more police and military presence everyday or why not re-imposed a stricter and serious curfew hour everyday and implement it  to the hilt by our authorities and exempting no one. Perhaps we need one now for city residents to feel secure and safe.

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Scoop: There are still good people and friends left in this world and you can expect their assistance without asking for it. Thank you so much Rodrigo Balbon, my friend of over 40 years, for the kind gesture you extended to me at Hanazono Japanese Restaurant last night. You are a true “Mason” and may your tribe increase. This time it’s on me to agree.