Dela Rosa confers heroism medal on cop slain in Bohol clash
CALAPE, Bohol – Muddy road stopped President Duterte from attending the wake of the lone policeman killed in an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf members in Inabanga town, Bohol, last week.
Instead, Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Philippine National Police chief, visited the family of PO2 Rey Anthony Nazareno in Barangay Ulbujan here and conferred the Medalya ng Kadakilaan (Heroism Medal) in recognition of Nazareno’s bravery and dedication.
“The recognition is due him. He did a good job,” he later told reporters in Cebu City.
Mr. Duterte was in Tagbilaran City on Wednesday afternoon to attend a security briefing with police, military, local and Cabinet officials on the clash with the Abu Sayyaf in Inabanga and the ongoing Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit (Asean) meetings in Panglao.
After the meeting, the President was supposed to visit the wake of Nazareno in Calape, about 41 km from the capital city of Tagbilaran and less an hour away by private vehicle.
Mr. Duterte told reporters that the military advised him not to proceed because the helicopter would have difficulty landing in the village since the area was muddy.
Barangay Ulbujan where the Nazarenos live is about 3 km from the national highway.
“Ngayon sana..ano daw the military advised today maputik daw at malayo. Talagang maputik yung lugar (I was supposed to visit now but the military advised me today that the area is muddy and far. The area is very muddy),” he said.
“So nandito naman, I just expressed my condolences to the family,” he added. “Mahirapan ang helicopter, napakaputik, mahirapan ang helicopter (The helicopter would have difficulty because it was very muddy).”
Mr. Duterte stayed in Tagbilaran for at least three hours before going to Manila.
A day before the supposed visit, members of the Presidential Management Staff went to the house of the Nazarenos and brought a funeral wreath and cash assistance from Malacañang.
Nazareno, 30, and the youngest in a brood of four, was one of the four government troopers killed during a clash with the suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf in Barangay Napo, Inabanga.
He was killed less than a month after completing his training at the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) last March.
Other government fatalities were 2nd Lieutenant Espelito Saldua, Jr., Corporal Meljun Cajaban and Sergeant John Dexter Duero.
Four members of the bandit group were also killed including their leader Abu Rami.
Dela Rosa arrived in Barangay Ulbujan in Calape town past 7 p.m., on board a van from Tagbilaran, said Senior Insp. Cresente Gurrea, Calape police station chief.
He handed the Medalya ng Kadakilaan and financial assistance to Nazareno’s parents Dominador and Galvencia.
Gurrea said Dela Rosa stayed in the wake for an hour before going back to Tagbilaran where he had dinner with Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto at the Governor’s Mansion.
He then proceeded to the port in Tubigon town where he took a fastcraft to Cebu City so he could take an early morning flight to Manila.
In an interview with reporters in Cebu City, Dela Rosa said the family was proud of what their son did for the country.
“Although the family grieved the loss of a loved one, they are still proud that he (Nazareno) offered his life for the country,” he said.
“Losing one’s life is part of the life of a policeman’s life. We just have to be careful,” he added.
Dominador, 61, said he thanked the government for the assistance.
“Wala ko nagmahay nga namatay akong anak tungod kay nakasilbi siya sa atong nasud. Ang among hangyo lang sa Presidente nga mahurot na unta nang mga Abu Sayyaf (I didn’t regret that my son is dead because he was able to serve the country. My appeal to the President is that he finishes off all members of the Abu Sayyaf,” said Dominador.
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