By Rommel F. Lopez

President Rodrigo Duterte pins the Order of Lapu-Lapu medal on a soldier, who was among the 12 soldiers injured during the June 28 suicide bomb attack on a military camp in Indanan, Sulu. (Photo courtesy of the Western Mindanao Command Public Information Office)

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Twelve soldiers, who were injured in a recent bombing attack that killed seven in a military camp in Sulu province, were honored by President Rodrigo Duterte with the Order of Lapu-Lapu.

Given the award were the following: SSgt. Ferdinand Clemente, Sgt. William Andreade, Sgt. Marlon Domingo, Sgt. Ryan Ferrer, Sgt. Richard Tudla, Sgt. Mark Joseph Mamingcol, Sgt. Jykyl Bautista, Cpl. Serto Bagni, Cpl. Rommel Soliman, Pfc. John Angelo Carpio, Pfc. Ralph Sabrosa and Pfc. Dariel Bolibar.

The President awarded the medals when he visited the soldiers at the hospital inside Camp Basilio Navarro that houses the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) headquarters in this city.

The soldiers, along with 10 civilians, were wounded when two terrorists walked into the Tactical Command Post of the Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team in Indanan, Sulu, on June 28.

The military is still determining if it was a case of suicide bombing since the bombs might have been detonated remotely, according to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo. However, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had said it was “obviously a suicide bombing” because “the person exploded.” Military officials said the Abu Sayyaf group was behind the bombing.

At the same event, Duterte also gave the new three-star rank insignia to Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, the new Westmincom chief and one of the few living Filipino Medal of Valor awardees. “The courage and will of our soldiers to fight for lasting peace is truly commendable that the President deemed it fit to recognize their heroic deeds,” Sobejana said.

“Their sacrifices will not be put in vain as we exceed all efforts, by sustaining tactical and intelligence operations, to combat terrorism in Mindanao, especially in Sulu,” he added. (With PNA)