From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 6): PRRD visits 1002nd Infantry Brigade, awards 6 soldiers for gallantry
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte visited the 1002nd Infantry Brigade at Camp Herminigildo Agaab here Wednesday as a way to show gratitude to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for its efforts in the Marawi crisis and to award medal of gallantry to six soldiers of the brigade.
The President personally pinned the Gold Cross Medal to Staff Sergeant Loujie Basa of 72nd Infantry Battalion (IB) based in South Cotabato for successfully defending his patrol base without casualty on the government side and for the recovery of war materials after a 5-hour firefight against more or less 80 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Tampakan town.
He also awarded the Military Merit Medal with Bronze Spearhead Device to 2Lt. Ronald D. Velasco, 2Lt. Dennis C. Cortejo, and PFC Lloyd Vincent M. Manansan of the 39th IB; and to 2LT. Orestes D. Fausto, and Corporal Edsan Pedroso of the 73rd IB.
Duterte assured the AFP of his continued support to the troops and their families even after he get out of the presidency.
“I would not forget this episode in my life that I have to work with you closely, talk to you, encourage you, and most of all to protect you and to assure you, lahat naman tayo mamamatay pati ako, but I assure you we will not forget your families kung sakali wala na tayo dito.”
He said he will allocate a trust fund which will be administered by the Central Bank solely for the education of all the soldiers’ children.
“Lahat talaga kung gusto nilang mag-aral makakatapos, yan ang pangako ko sa inyo (All of them if they want to go to school they can finish, that’s my promise) before I leave the Presidency.”
Duterte also presented some reforms in the AFP particularly in the procurement of life-saving equipment for use of military personnel.
He emphasized that he would no longer allow second-hand equipment from now on for increased efficiency and safety.
“I would never accept a hand me down, gusto ninyo magbili tayo ng bago. Ayaw ko yang magbili tayo ng second hand kasi hindi maganda (if you want we will buy a new one. I don’t want us to buy a second hand).”
Capt. Gilbert Denso, Commander of Golf Company of the 72nd IB based in South Cotabato said the promise of the president to buy brand new equipment is an advantage to the AFP especially that lawless elements and threat groups are also upgrading their equipment.
“Maganda yung sinabi ni Presidente naka encourage sa amin, high morale kami. We are looking forward na mabigyan kami ng bagong equipment, dahil hindi rin basta-basta ang gamit ng mga kalaban, so dapat mag upgrade din kami (The president’s message inspires us, it raises our morale. We are looking forward for the new equipment because our enemy also uses high quality armaments, so we need also to upgrade.”
Meanwhile, Duterte also told soldiers to expect a salary increase by January 2018 as he promise to make their welfare as top priority.
“I’d like to congratulate you again, the entire AFP for liberating Marawi and keeping the people safe, and you can rest assure that for as long as I am the president of this country hindi kayo maging second class,” he emphasized.