BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 10 (PIA) -- "If it is in the performance of your duty and you face charges, criminal and all, you need not worry. I will take the blame personally and I will protect you. And I would never, never allow you to go to jail," said President Rodrigo R. Duterte as he addressed the officers, enlisted men and other personnel of the 401st Infantry Brigade (IB) and 402nd IB, Philippine Army.
This he conveyed during the traditional "Talk to Troops" held on September 29 at the covered court of Camp Datu Lipus Makapandong, 401st Infantry Brigade, Brgy. Awa in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.
"We have accomplished a lot since I started this journey more than two years ago. Yet there is still much to do. I assure you that you are not alone in this fight as long as you perform your mandate in accordance with law, this admin remains steadfast in supporting your organization and provide you with the necessary tools and resources that would enable you to perfectly fulfill as defenders of the nation," said the President.
President Duterte also noted that he has seen the hard work, dedication and bravery of the men and women of the Eastern Command in maintaining law and order in their operations and for their wonderful performance.
"Maganda ang pinakita ninyo sa bayan and I give you my salute," said President Duterte.
President Duterte further enumerated the relentless efforts of these soldiers for they have neutralized, apprehended, and facilitated the surrenders of the regulars, Militia ng Bayan members, Sangay ng Partido Lokal members, and more than 500 underground mass organization members that led to the recovery of hundreds of firearms and explosives and the discovery of enemy encampments.
"Your steadfast support in the campaign against illegal drugs has not only resulted in the confiscation of shabu worth over PhP11 million but also led to the neutralization of drug personalities, securing the provinces of Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur," the President said.
Also, President Duterte acknowledged the cooperation of the troopers with the concerned government agencies especially in the implementation of martial law in Mindanao.
"These accomplishments, however came at a price. Many have been wounded and lives have been lost. I share my grief with you. I, together with the Filipino people are truly grateful for the gallantry of our wounded and fallen comrades, and encourage our troops to continue to make great sacrifices to defend our land, uphold peace, and secure the freedom we now enjoyed," said the President.
As mentioned further by the President in his speech, he emphasized that performing a duty for the nation is a noble job.
"I will not allow a single soldier to stay in prison even for one day. That is my promise to you. We will see to it that the nation that we hand over to our children is one that is more stable, harmonious and progressive. I therefore, ask each of you to continue doing your part so that we may soon realize our aspiration for a lasting peace and stability across the nation. Maraming salamat at mabuhay ang 401st Brigade. Saludo ako sa inyo!" the President added.
Upon the arrival of the President at the 401st Infantry Brigade, he was ushered by Philippine Army officials to view the 196 recovered firearms by the 401st IB and 402nd IB.
Meanwhile, the President also personally led the donning of ranks to the newly promoted uniformed personnel to next higher rank. Gold Cross and Silver Wing Medals were also awarded to deserving servicemen.
After his engagement at the 401st IB, the President proceeded to the Philippine National Police-Police Regional Office (PNP-PRO) 13 hospital at Camp Rafael C. Rodriguez, Libertad, Butuan City to visit a police officer who was wounded in an encounter. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)