Carmen, North Cotabato
June 6, 2017

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talked to the officers and members of the 602nd Brigade, 6th Infantry Division (6ID) of the Philippine Army (PA) at Camp Lucero in the municipality of Carmen, North Cotabato.

Accompanied by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año, the President’s visit not only aimed to talk with the troops but more importantly, to boost their morale as they continue to engage with the Maute group.

BGen. Manolo Samarita (Brigade Commander, 602nd Brigade, 6ID) expressed his sentiments on the President’s visit. “…Malaking bagay ang pagbisita ng Presidente sa ating brigade. Unang-una makikita ng mga tao, mga tauhan namin na concerned talaga ang ating Presidente sa ating mga kasundaluhan. Na yung moral na yan is napaka-importante para sa bawat elemento ng aking brigade ng AFP,” he said.

A situation briefing was also presented to the Commander-in-Chief by the Philippine Army’s MGen. Arnel Dela Vega (Division Commander, 6ID) and BGen. Manolo Samarita wherein they reported that a number of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters pledged allegiance in hunting down the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) present in the area of the 602nd Brigade.

So far, the counter terrorism cooperation between government troops and the MILF resulted to the following: 94 BIFF members killed, 55 wounded, and 2 BIFF members apprehended; the apprehension of 13 Maute group members; and the recovery of 39 high powered firearms, 17 low powered firearms, 25 improvised explosive devices, 29 explosives, 847 ammunitions, 28 magazines, and 14 vehicles.

In his message, President Duterte congratulated the 602nd Brigade for having the joint law enforcement cooperation with the MILF, a major accomplishment of the troops in the area. He also assured his men that as Commander-in-Chief, he takes full responsibility of their actions as they continue to fight and defend the sovereignty of the country. “…Lahat ng mangyari dito whether nagkamali ka o wala, ako ang magsagot niyan isa. I and I alone will assume full responsibility. Trabaho lang kayo, the order is to destroy the enemy!” the President stressed.

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