PRESIDENTIAL VISIT. President Rodrigo Duterte examines the injury of one of the soldiers wounded in a recent clash in Borongan City, Eastern Samar. The President conferred medals to critically wounded troops recuperating at the Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban City on Friday night (Nov. 15, 2019). (Presidential photo)

TACLOBAN CITY -- Soldiers critically injured during a clash with rebels in Borongan City, Eastern Samar said the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to their hospital bed is proof of the Chief Executive’s genuine concern for government troops.

Cpl. Aljon Aguilos, 28, who got a serious injury on his left eye, said the President’s visit at the Divine Word Hospital here motivated him to continue the fight against the communist terrorist group.

“Although he’s very busy, he really finds time to visit us here. We really appreciate his concern for us. This gives us the reason to continue to fight to secure the Filipino people,” said Aguilos, who got injured when shrapnel from detonated explosive lodged in his eyes.

Private 1st class (Pfc) Rex Batis Jr., 23, turned emotional when President Duterte personally awarded him the Order of Lapu-Lapu, Rank of Kampilan.

“He’s really a good Commander-in-Chief. I couldn’t believe he came to see us. His presence drives us to be braver in wiping out the insurgents,” said Batis, who suffered a head injury.

Aside from Aguilos and Batis, the President also conferred the same honor to Sgt. Kenneth John Arcina, Cpl. Linlito Donayre, Pfc. Albert Abegonia, and Privates Darwin Aborquez and Joshua Pacuan.

The Order of Lapu-Lapu is given to persons in the government or private sector who have rendered extraordinary service or have made exceptional contributions to the success of the President’s campaign or advocacy.

The Kampilan Medal is awarded to persons seriously wounded or suffered a great loss of property as a direct result of their participation in such actions.

The wound soldiers also received financial assistance and new mobile phones from the President.

Before his hospital visit, President Duterte posthumously conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu, Rank of Kalasag to the six Army soldiers, who were killed in an encounter with communist insurgents in Eastern Samar.

President Duterte arrived at Camp General Vicente Lukban in Catbalogan City to honor the soldiers who died during a November 11 clash with the New People’s Army (NPA) in Borongan City, Eastern Samar. He also condoled with the families of the victims.

The recipients of the award were Staff Sgt. Rex Jadulco, Sgt. Ronaldo Go, Sgt. Limar Banug, Cpl. Junmar Buranday, Cpl. Kent Lloyd Agullo, and Pfc. Charlie del Rosario.

The Kalasag Medal is given to officials and personnel of the government and private individuals who lost their lives as a direct result of their participation in an activity under a campaign or advocacy of the President.

Aside from those killed, 24 other soldiers were wounded during the encounter. The wounded soldiers at the Camp Lukban Station Hospital also received the Order of Lapu-Lapu, Rank of Kampilan from the President.

Four other soldiers, injured during separate clashes with the rebels, were also conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu by President Duterte.

The dependents of the soldiers killed in action received financial aid from the government while another assistance was extended through the state’s Comprehensive Social Benefit Program.

The injured Army and police personnel were also given financial support.

Participating agencies under the social benefit program include the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Trade and Industry, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and the Department of Health.

Other agencies providing assistance are the National Housing Authority, Commission on Higher Education, National Police Commission, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. (PNA)