ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command honored today 5 Marines who were injured in a clash with the Abu Sayyaf Group last week.
Wesmincom Commander, Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, personally pinned the wounded personnel medal to Sergeant Rey Addatu, Corporal Elmer De Jesus, Corporal Jomar Ballad, Private First Class Paul Julius Calamay, and Private First Class Ronwaldo Dalayday.
The five belong to the Marine Batallion Landing Team 2.
Addatu said they were conducting military operations when they encountered the group in the vicinity of Barangay Latih, Patikul, Sulu last August 28.
The soldiers' encounter with some 300 bandits lasted for an hour. The clash left 10 soldiers wounded. Three Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed.
The recipients of the award are currently confined at the Camp Navarro General while another five soldiers are in a private hospital in the city.
Wesmincom spokesperson Capt. Rowena Muyuela said all the wounded soldiers are now in stable condition.
Two of them also were transferred today to the Manila Naval Hospital.
In a phone interview, Muyuela denied the presence of international Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorists during the encounter.
She added that pursuit operations against the bandits in Sulu are still ongoing in an effort to rescue the remaining hostages of the group.