PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has awarded 129 soldiers who died fighting terrorists in Marawi City with a posthumous recognition of the Order of Lapu Lapu, Kalasag rank on Monday.
The President cited the fallen soldiers during the commemoration of the National Heroes Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.
The medal of Order of Lapu Lapu Kalasag Rank is awarded to public and private servants who lost their lives as a direct result of their participation in advancing the campaign and advocacy of the government.
The posthumous award was also described as a recognition of the courage and gallantry of the soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice of laying down their lives to fight terrorism and ensure the safety and security of the people in Mindanao.
The posthumous award for each soldier was received either by the soldier’s wife or parent.
Most of the soldiers who died in Marawi City were between 21 and 30 years old.
President Duterte has declared martial law in Mindanao last May 23 to supposedly suppress a rebellion by the Maute group seeking to establish an independent state in the southern Philippines with Islamist extremist leader Isnilon Hapilon as its emir.
Authorities were supposed to arrest Hapilon but were repelled by Maute forces. Since then, the Maute group has wrought havoc in Marawi, destroying the city, taking hostages and killing non-Muslims which prompted the President to declare martial law.
Congress extended martial law last July 22 until the end of 2017 on the President’s word that he needed more time to suppress a rebellion from the Maute group, Abu Sayyaf, Ansarul Khilafah Philippines and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). LLANESCA T. PANTI