PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has given posthumous awards to three members of the militia force killed in a recent encounter with lawless elements in Basilan province.

First Marine Brigade commander Eugenio Clemen said Arroyo gave the awards on Wednesday during her visit to the Marine Battalion Landing Team–10 headquarters in Camalig village, Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan.

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Estilito Bacus, a member of the Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA), who was killed last February 27 in an attack in Tubigan village in Maluso town, was awarded a Military Merit Medal with Bronze Spearhead Device.

The attack of at least 50 members of a lawless armed group under Commander Dick Alao resulted to the death of 11 people, including a one-year-old girl. Ten others were also hurt.

The invaders also set alight dozens of houses and burnt to death some residents.

Similar awards were also given to CAA members Monir Asarul and Ahmad Kabung who were killed in a combat operation against Abu Sayyaf bandits last week in Guiong village, Sumisip town.

The operation resulted to the death of Abugao Bayali, leader of the notorious kidnap-for-ransom group, and one of his followers.

Clemen said aside from the medals, the families of each of the three militiamen have also received Special Financial Assistance of P100,000.

The cash rewards were received by the victims’ widowed wives Concepcion Bacus, Berkisa Asarul and Nuray Kabung.

Clemen quoted Arroyo as saying the bravery shown by the fallen militiamen is the greatest manifestation of their will in protecting their community as well as their families living therein.

Meanwhile, the President also awarded Military Merit Medal with Bronze Spearhead Device to Lieutenant Julius Pablo of the Army's 32nd Infantry Battalion and Sergeant Amado Benilan from Marine Battalion Landing Team -7 “in recognition of their gallantry in action and heroic achievements in combating terrorism” in Basilan.