MANILA (UPDATE) – An anonymous donor has decided to give P1 million to each of the families of soldiers and policemen slain in the long-drawn conflict in Marawi City, President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday.
Duterte’s announcement drew loud applause from the bereaved families who were invited to Malacañang for the turnover of financial assistance from the Go Negosyo Kapatid Family Fund and the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc.
Duterte said the donor did not want to be publicly identified.
“There is a one single soul dito na sobra-sobra ang magnanimity niya. Ayaw kong sabihin kasi ayaw din niyang sabihin,” Duterte said.
”Nagbigay siya ng P1 million para sa inyong isa-isang pamilya. Ito talaga ang pupunta sa langit,” the President said.
The P1 million per family donation is on top of the P250,000 that the Go Negosyo Kapatid program has pledged to each of the families.
The so-called Go Negosyo “Kapatids” include some of the country’s wealthiest, among them First Pacific Company CEO Manny V. Pangilinan, LT Group CEO Lucio Tan, and SM Investments Corp. Vice Chair Teresita Sy-Coson, were present at the event.
ABS-CBN News learned from some of the families that the Tan-owned Philippine Airlines flew them to Manila from their respective provinces for free.
The families were also given free hotel accommodation.
DUTERTE: PH FOREVER GRATEFUL
Duterte, meanwhile, said the Philippines will forever be grateful to the fallen soldiers.
“Our troops knew of the danger that they will face upon the venture into the warzone. Still, they bravely took up the challenge so that they can bring peace and liberation to the besieged city,” Duterte said.
At total of 109 state troops are among at least 607 who have died in the Marawi City clashes, which has entered its third month. Majority of those killed were terrorists.
The conflict erupted on May 23 between state troops and Islamic State-linked terrorist groups who had set out to establish an ISIS province in Mindanao.
With the battle still raging in Marawi, Duterte told government troops fighting there to always keep safe.
“May you remain strong in heart and mind. Honor your fallen comrades by making sure that your sacrifices will not be in vain,” he said.
“And do not be killed,” he added.