Aquino lauds sacrifices of 7 marines stationed in Ayungin Shoal

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday hailed the seven Marine soldiers who were stationed in Ayungin Shoal as he led the celebration of the Day of Valor in Bataaan.

The Chief Executive cited the sacrifices of the seven soldiers led by 1st Lieutenant Mike Pelotera in performing their duty of ensuring the sovereignty of the country.

"Just think of the gravity of their sacrifice: For five months, their entire world revolved around the sea. They had almost no communication with their families; there were even times when the supplies and food they needed were blocked from reaching them," he said referring to the move of Chinese coast guards.

"Day and night, on board the stranded BRP Sierra Madre, their dedication was anchored on keeping watch over, and safeguarding our territory. This is why, together with our veterans, soldiers like them are among those we honor today. The Filipino nation salutes all of you," he said.

Pelotera's group was only rotated when a Philippine ship and a banca carrying government troops and members of the press managed to reach Ayungin Shoal on March 29 despite attempt again by Chinese coast guards to block them.

China has been claiming almost the entire West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) including Ayungin Shoal, which is also being claimed by the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the President said that purging the list of veterans, the government managed to retrieve pension remittances worth P396.61 million.

Through the Pensioner's Revalidation Program, he said the government has ceased giving benefits to 22,534 accounts, and has suspended 14,616 accounts.

"The result: we have retrieved pension remittances worth 396.61 million pesos, and this March, the number of veterans and their spouses who are receiving service from the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office has reached 133,784. Now, we are making sure that every peso we give from our national coffers goes to the truly deserving," he said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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