IN PHOTOS: Duterte dines with soldiers wounded in action

Pia Ranada
IN PHOTOS: Duterte dines with soldiers wounded in action
President Duterte gives the soldiers electric wheelchairs and laptops, and says he wants to 'reinvent' them after their sacrifice for the country

MANILA, Philippines – To cap National Heroes’ Day, President Rodrigo Duterte had dinner with soldiers wounded in action on Monday, August 29.

Sixty-four soldiers in their blue patient’s garb were guests at Malacañang’s Heroes Hall where they were served chicken sotanghon, grilled seafood, fish in coconut milk and mustard greens, mais con hielo, and other Filipino dishes.

Sixteen of the soldiers were those wounded in clashes in Cotabato. They were flown in the previous night by C130 so they could join the dinner.


 

One of the 3 soldiers who gave testimonials in front of the President during the dinner was Second Lieutenant Jerome Jacuba, who was blinded by an explosion during clearing operations in Maguindanao.

Jacuba was the soldier who cried and hugged Duterte when the Commander-in-Chief visited the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center on August 2.

Duterte and the soldiers were joined by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and AFP chief General Ricardo Visaya.

During the dinner, Duterte gave the soldiers electric wheelchairs and laptops. He said he wanted to “reinvent” them and even encouraged Jacuba to go back to school.


 

Duterte thanked the soldiers for making their sacrifice for the country. He joked that he would order Lorenzana to promote all of them to the rank of general.

“In the sight of the Filipino people, you are all generals. Kaya ako, ‘pag magsaludo ako sa inyo, wounded in action, sinasabi ko, nagsasaludo ako, so mauna kang bumaba sa kamay. ‘Yan ang respeto ko sa inyo,” he told them.

(In the sight of the Filipino people, you are all generals. That’s why I salute you, soldiers wounded in action. I say, if I salute you, you should be the first to put down your hand saluting me. That’s how much I respect you.)

Photo by Toto Lozano/PPD

Photo by King Rodriguez/PPD

Photo by Albert Alcain/PPD

Photo by Toto Lozano/PPD

Photo by Toto Lozano/PPD

Photo by King Rodriguez/PPD

Photo by Rey Baniquet/PPD

– Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.