President Aquino’s statement on the death of 7 soldiers in Sulu on July 28, 2011
At 4:30 a.m. yesterday, July 28, 2011, there was an encounter between the Marine Battalion Landing Team 11 of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Abu-Sayyaf. In this encounter, seven of our troops fell in the midst of operations, and some of their remains were mutilated by the terrorists. I have instructed Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to ensure that every possible aid and assistance is given to the families of these brave soldiers who paid the ultimate price for the defense of our security and our freedom.
I condemn these atrocities that are meant to put pressure on the peace process—to derail our efforts to counteract the causes of banditry, rebellion, and terrorism. Let me be very clear: those who want neither peace nor progress are the ones who perpetrated this dastardly act.
I will be personally going to extend my sympathies and condole with the bereaved relatives of these brave soldiers. I will be letting them know that pursuit operations will go on, and we will not stop until all those involved are captured.
Mark my words: to those of you who perpetrated this atrocity, know that you are now number one on my radar. It might take some time, but make no mistake about it: you will be brought to justice to answer for your crimes.
As a tribute to our brave soldiers, we will redouble our efforts to attain peace. If nothing changes then their sacrifices would have been in vain. They will not be in vain. Our efforts to put in place the conditions for sustained peace and security for our people will not waver.
I ask all our people to pause in silent tribute to the latest in the roster of selfless men and women who have given their utmost for our country.