President Rodrigo Duterte personally honored on Friday the six Army soldiers killed in an encounter with New People's Army rebels in Borongan, Eastern Samar.
They were given the Order of Lapu-Lapu, Rank of Kalasag, posthumously, at Camp General Vicente Lukban in Catbalogan City.
The soldiers, who died on Nov. 11, were identified as Staff Sergeant Rex Jadulco, Sergeant Ronaldo Go, Sergeant Limar Banug, Corporal Junmar Buranday, Corporal Kent Lloyd Agullo, and Private First Class Charlie del Rosario.
Duterte also condoled with the relatives of the soldiers.
Twenty-four other soldiers were injured during encounters with the NPA.
Duterte conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu, Rank of Kampilan, on 16 wounded soldiers confined at the Camp Lukban Station Hospital.
He also conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu on four soldiers wounded in separate clashes with rebels.
Duterte also conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu, Rank of Kampilan, on soldiers and police personnel critically injured in the encounter in Borongan City. They were confined at the Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban City.
Malacañang said "the Order of Lapu-Lapu is given to persons in the government or private sector who have rendered extraordinary service or have made exceptional contributions to the success of the President’s campaign or advocacy."
"The Kampilan Medal is conferred on persons who were seriously wounded or suffered great loss of property as a direct result of their participation in such action," it added.
"The Kalasag Medal, on the other hand, is given to officials and personnel of the government and private individuals who lost their lives as a direct result of their participation in an activity pursuant to a campaign or advocacy of the President," the Palace said.
Dependents of the soldiers killed in action were given financial assistance from the government.
They were also granted other support through the government's Comprehensive Social Benefit Program.
Meanwhile, injured Army and police personnel were also extended financial assistance.
Government agencies which participated in the social benefit program are the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Department of Health (DOH).
The National Housing Authority (NHA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also gave assistance.
Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Police Lieutenant General Archie Francisco Gamboa directed police officials to launch intensified offensive measures against communist rebels following the encounter in Samar. —KG, GMA News