Poe condemns clash that left 18 soldiers dead
After hearing reports of the 18 soldiers who died fighting the Abu Sayyaf, Senator Grace Poe quickly condemned the event, calling it "a brutal murder" of the soldiers who died serving the country.
In a statement, Poe condemned the rebel group: "We condemn the Abu Sayyaf and its supporters in the strongest terms for the brutal and treacherous murder of our troops who were on legitimate military operations in Basilan."
The senator said that terrorists should be pursued and crushed with the full force of the country's military and police forces, while safeguarding the lives of its citizens.
"We call on the public to be vigilant in reporting to authorities those groups and individuals, including public officials, who support and coddle the Abu Sayyaf and other armed groups for their selfish gains at the expense of peace and security. They should be exposed and answer for their criminal acts," she said.
She urged the current administration to pursue all means to ensure that the fallen heroes would have closure and a means of support. She said the incident should never happen again.
"I also urge the national government to ensure that the needs of the families of our fallen heroes are provided for immediately... Once more, this incident highlights the importance of giving priority to the needs of our soldiers and policemen to prevent regrettable incidents like this. This should never happen again."