(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte said he would be conferring the Order of Lapu-Lapu on members of Philippine security forces who died in a helicopter crash in Bukidnon over the weekend, as he expressed his deepest condolences to their families.
Those who died in the crash on Saturday, Jan. 16, were on a Philippine Air Force UH-1H helicopter, which was on a supply mission from Malaybalay City, Bukidnon to a patrol base. All seven persons aboard the craft perished.
The Philippine Army said the chopper encountered engine trouble and tried to make an emergency landing but later went down in Barangay Bulonay, Impasugong town.
‘Yung mga na-crash na chopper, Philippine Air Force sa Bukidnon, I would have wanted to go there. I thought yesterday nasa isang kampo lang. Eh iyon pala napadala na sa mga — ‘yung labi nila sa mga pamilya nila. So, I decided to forgo the trip. But just the same, let me express my deepest condolences sa mga asawa ninyo. And I share your grief. Alam ko kung gaano na lang ganoon ang sakripisyo ng sundalo para sa bayan nila,” President Duterte said in his Talk to the Nation on Monday night, Jan. 18.
Those who died in the crash were Lt. Col. Arnie Arroyo, the pilot; 2nd Lt. Mark Anthony Caabay, co-pilot; Sgt. Mervin Bersabe; Airman 1st Class Stephen Agarrado; Sgt. Julius Salvado; and Jerry Ayocdo and Jhamel Sugalang, both members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit.
“They died heroes. And we are giving them the one of the highest awards sa Presidente is the Order of Lapu-Lapu,” Duterte said.
The Order of Lapu-Lapu is given to persons in government or private sector who have rendered extraordinary service or have made exceptional contributions to the success of the President’s campaign or advocacy, according to a Malacanang release.
(Eagle News Service)