While Marawi soldiers have been promised a trip to Hong Kong with their wives, Special Action Force (SAF) cops have not gotten word about their own rewards from President Rodrigo Duterte.
For now, the best they can hope for is a trip to Tagaytay City, care of no less than Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa.
Dela Rosa told reporters on Monday, October 23, that if ever the President does not give them trips like the ones promised to their colleagues at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), he will take it upon himself to treat the SAF troopers out of town.
“Pabiyahehin ko sila. Ako na ang bahala. Tagaytay, paakyatin natin sa Tagaytay. Kumain ng bulalo. That’s something for them to really look forward to, ‘di ba?” Dela Rosa said.
(I will take them on a road trip. I will take care of it. I will send them to Tagaytay to eat bulalo. That’s something for them to look forward to, right?)
Tagaytay, a popular city for rest and relaxation, is also known for bulalo, a local stew with beef shanks and bone marrow.
Dela Rosa said he can join the SAF troopers along with the PNP’s Command Group – the highest ranking officers in the police force.
Dela Rosa added that the cops who went to the Marawi battle zone, although less talked about, have their own stories of heroism and deserve rewards, too.
“Sa aming battle area, they have very high regard [for] our SAF commandos na nando’n sa area. Ang masasabi nila ay talagang very passionate. Kaya I am very happy [with] the feedback that my men were up to the challenge. Kaya we have to recognize their efforts,” the PNP chief said.
(I heard that they have very high regard for our SAF commandos in the battle area. They’re described as very passionate. I am very happy with the feedback that my men were up to the challenge. That’s why we have to recognize their efforts.)
The SAF troopers provided backup for soldiers in the battle to retake Marawi City from homegrown terrorists inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS), who launched their assault on May 23.
Duterte declared the “liberation” of Marawi City on October 17 after the siege’s top leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute were killed on October 16. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana then declared on Monday that all combat operations have ended in war-torn Marawi.
The city’s freedom came with a heavy price, however, as the PNP lost 7 cops, with 61 others wounded, said Dela Rosa.
Regardless of rewards, the PNP will hold a ceremony for the SAF troopers on Wednesday, October 25, to finally welcome them home. – Rappler.com
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