THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday honored five soldiers who were wounded in a series of encounters with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
Brig. Gen. Arnel de la Vega, commander of the AFP Joint Task Force Sulu, personally pinned the Wounded Personnel Medal to 2nd Lt. Joelimar Sulit, Technical Sgt. Mario de Guzman Jr., Sgt. Berhamin Jumdana, Pfc. Deborah Paracuelles and Pvt. Michael Andre Atega during a simple ceremony at Camp Bautista Station Hospital in Jolo, Sulu, on Friday.
“This is one way of recognizing the bravery and services of our troops in protecting the people of Sulu,” he said.
Meanwhile, government troops continue to scour suspected ASG lairs in Sulu to rescue hostages held by the bandit group.
Thirteen hostages—six Indonesians, six Filipinos and a Norwegian—have been rescued or released since the government launched all-out offensives against the jihadists on orders of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Five jihadists, including the notorious Muktadil brothers, were killed in the latest operations this week in different parts of Sulu.
Also, several bandits, who the military claimed were also engaged in the illegal drug trade, have been arrested by the joint elements of the AFP and Philippine National Police in Zamboanga and Metro Manila.
According to the military, the extremist group is in cahoots with drug lords and is responsible for proliferation of illegal drugs in the provinces of Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in southern Mindanao.