MALACANANG assured on Sunday assistance to the dependents of seven soldiers who were killed in clashes with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group last Thursday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said dependents of the seven soldiers killed in action will receive burial benefits, financial assistance, and educational benefits from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP); cash and assistance from the Alay sa Kawal Foundation; and special financial assistance under Republic Act 6963.

"Their surviving spouses will also receive old age pension, while the wounded personnel will also receive financial assistance from the AFP," he said over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

Thirteen government troops were also wounded in the separate encounters in Patikul, Sulu.

Most of the government casualties were hit by enemy mortar fire, Coloma said.

He said that government forces are now pursuing the ASG.

"The Marines are presently conducting follow-on law enforcement operations in coordination with the PNP (Philippine National Police) to locate and neutralize the ASG elements in the area," Coloma said. (SDR/Sunnex)