Malacanang on Sunday vowed justice for the seven Marines who were killed in a clash with Abu Sayyaf rebels in Sulu last week.
Five Abu Sayyaf fighters were also killed in a fierce firefight at a remote village in Patikul town Saturday morning. Nine other soldiers were wounded .
In an interview, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said security forces are hunting down the Abu Sayyaf group.
“It is really sad when we received this particular report from the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines),” Valte said. “We would like to express our sincere condolences to the families of our soldiers who were killed in action.”
“Our soldiers are always there to make sure that we are safe and that we are secured,” she said.
The government is ready to provide the appropriate assistance for the families of the slain soldiers, according to Valte.
Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan had said that troops from the 2nd Marine Brigade caught up with a large group of Abu Sayyaf terrorists at about 6:45 a.m. in Tugas village.
The firefight lasted for over an hour before the rebels fled, Tutaan said.