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Parents of fallen soldiers true patriots – AFP

Dignified acceptance of deaths, respect for Marines' duty and pride over raising heroes admirable
By: - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQ
/ 08:26 PM June 13, 2017

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte salutes in front of the flag-draped casket containing one of the slain Marines shortly after their remains arrived from Marawi at a military base in Manila on June 11, 2017.  The June 9 ferocious, street-to-street gun battles with the militants saw 13 troops killed, in a dramatic surge in the toll from the conflict, Philippine military spokesmen said. (AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE)

MANILA —  The Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson hailed on Tuesday, the families of the fallen soldiers as the “true patriots” in the ongoing campaign to liberate Marawi City from terrorists who have allied themselves with the Islamic State.

“They are the true patriots,” Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said.

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The resilience, fortitude, and their quiet, dignified acceptance of the deaths of their loved ones have been evident in every military family since the fighting in Marawi broke out three weeks ago, Padilla said.

Padilla was especially struck by the media interviews of the parents of the late Marine Lieutenant John Frederick Savellano.

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“They said that people shouldn’t send them condolences but congratulations because they raised a hero for our country,” Padilla said.

Savellano, 29, was killed on Friday, along with 12 other Marine soldiers, in an intense firefight with the Abu Sayyaf/ Maute group.

Just a few days before he was killed, Savellano led his Marine company in the recovery of P79 million in cash and stale checks at a house used as a sniper’s nest by the Maute group.

On Monday at the wake of his men, Marine commandant, Major General Emmanuel Salamat, said none of the fallen soldiers’ families questioned the deaths of their loved ones and the military campaign in Marawi City.

“They know the duty of the Marines. They know that sacrificing their lives for the country is part of that duty,” Salamat said.

Savellano’s sibling told reporters that their family was grateful that the Marines have been assisting them “every step of the way.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (center, L) consoles a relative of one of the slain Marines next to the flag-draped casket, shortly after their remains arrived from Marawi at a military base in Manila on June 11, 2017.  The June 9 ferocious, street-to-street gun battles with the militants saw 13 troops killed, in a dramatic surge in the toll from the conflict, Philippine military spokesmen said. (AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE)

Salamat said that the visits of President Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo at the wake to pay their respects to the fallen soldiers have also “given enough motivation to the families despite their deep
grief.”

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Salamat also said that soldiers “always draw inspiration from our fallen heroes.”

“Their sacrifices and the bravery they displayed in their performance of their duties as soldiers will always provide strong resolve to our soldiers to continue their selfless service to the nation,” he said.

On Monday, eight of the 10 Marines killed in Marawi, including Savellano, were given arrival honors at the Marines Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio.

They were met by Robredo, the Navy and Marine top brass, and their families.

The fallen Marines were posthumously awarded the military merit award for their gallantry in action.

Each of the medal with a bronze spearhead was placed on the top left hand side of the glasses of their caskets, as soldiers’ medals are traditionally pinned on their left breasts, by their hearts.

Salamat said the award could be upgraded based on the recommendations of their unit commanders.

Families of the slain soldiers will receive financial assistance and the soldiers’ children are also given scholarship grants, according to the military.  SFM

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TAGS: Acts of terror, Armed conflict, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, clash, Counter-terrorism, Criminality, Encounter, families of slain soldiers, gun battle, Insurgency, intelligence-gathering, law enforcement, Major General Emmanuel Salamat, manhunt for terrorists, Marawi City, Marawi City attacks, Marawi conflict, Marawi crisis, Marawi siege, Marine Lieutenant John Frederick Savellano, Martial law, Mindanao martial law, National security, Philippine Marines, public order, Public safety, pursuit operations, rebellion, Security, soldiers killed in action, soldiers killed in battle, soldiers killed in combat, Terrorism, War
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