Despite the huge casualties in Monday's operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) remains committed to eliminating the bandit threat.
"There may still be casualties along the way as we advance this solemn duty to eradicate these bandits and terrorists of 25 years, but we will not stop until we rid our country of the menace this ASG brings to the world," AFP Chief-of-Staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya said.
Around 15 troopers were killed while another 12 were wounded in the encounter at Sitio Kan Jalul, Barangay Maligay, Patikul, Sulu 4:30 p.m. on Monday.
A total of 30 terrorists were reported to have been killed during the ongoing focused military operations against the ASG which started last week.
Another 11 brigands were reported wounded in the series of clashes with government forces.
The offensive was the offshoot of the bandit group's brutal beheading of 18-year-old Patrick Jhames Almodavar last week.
"We have all the time. Keep the pressure on the enemy until they wear out. Just ensure they won't be able to leave the island and we will be triumphant in the end," Visaya stressed.
"Much as every soldier, sailor, marine, or airman knows that laying down one's life is all part and parcel of their job, we in the AFP vow to pursue this battle to conclusion," he added.