DUMAGUETE CITY -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday evening personally handed over posthumous awards to the families of the six policemen who were killed in an ambush by communist rebels last July 21 in Barangay Magsaysay, Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental.
President Duterte arrived at the Guihulngan City Hall shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday where four of the six caskets bearing the slain cops were brought for his viewing.
The remains of Senior Police Officer 2 (SPO2) Necasio Pasculado Tabilon, PO3 Teovic Gador Agosto, PO2 Alvin Paul Alquizola Bulandres and PO2 Alfredo Lastimoso Dunque were brought to the City Hall. The body of the late Guihulngan police chief, Superintendent Arnel Arpon, were earlier brought to Hinobaan, Negros Occidental while the remains of SPO1 Jesael Pequero Ancheta were in Jimalalud, Negros Oriental.
The President handed the Medalya ng Kadakilaan (PNP Heroism Medal) posthumous awards of the Philippine National Police to the family members of the fallen police officers.
The President told the media that the families of the fallen cops would receive a total of P500,000 and other cash incentives, free education for their children, livelihood package and enrollment to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, among others.
Last July 21, about 15 police officers responded to a call by Guihulngan City Councilor Edison Dela Rita that he and his two companions were allegedly ambushed by suspected communist terrorists at Sitio Mandii, Barangay Magsaysay.
Investigation showed that about 60 to 80 rebels had carried out the ambush, which resulted to the death of the policemen and the aide of Councilor Dela Rita identified as Michael Jambalos.
Speaking to reporters briefly in Guihulngan, President Duterte lambasted the New People’s Army (NPA) reiterating that he is no longer interested in holding peace talks with them and that government is ready to fight them for another 50 years.
But he stressed he is not angry with them. “Pag pikon ka, talo ka” (if you’re touchy, you lose)”.
Duterte later flew to Dumaguete City to meet with the three other police officers who were wounded in the Guihulngan ambush and are confined at the Silliman University Medical Center.
The wounded police personnel, namely: SPO4 Jerome Delara, PO2 Jorie Maribao and PO3 Jordan Balderas, each received the Sugatang Medalya (PNP Wounded Personnel medal) and some financial assistance.
For his part, Guihulngan City Mayor Guido Reyes extended his gratitude, on behalf of his constituents, to President Duterte for coming over to pay tribute to the fallen policemen.
"That speaks of the President’s compassion and it means a lot to the people," Reyes said.
Reyes lauded the President’s pronouncement of hoping that there was a way out to solve the insurgency problem in Guihulngan without having to kill these “terrorists”.
The mayor said the local government is also setting aside financial assistance to the slain and wounded police officers. (PNA)