MUDDY roads stopped President Duterte from attending the wake of the lone policeman killed during the encounter with Abu Sayyaf members in Inabanga town, Bohol, last week.
Instead, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa visited the family of SPO2 Rey Anthony Nazareno in Barangay Ulbujan and conferred the Medalya ng Kadakilaan (Heroism Medal) in recognition of Nazareno’s bravery and dedication.
“The recognition is due him. He did a good job,” he later told reporters in Cebu City.
Mr. Duterte was in Tagbilaran City, Wednesday afternoon, to attend a security briefing with police, military, local and Cabinet officials on the clash with the Abu Sayyaf in Inabanga and the ongoing Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit (Asean) meetings on Panglao Island.
Mr. Duterte told reporters that the military advised him not to proceed because the helicopter would have difficulty landing in the village since the area was muddy.
“I was supposed to visit now, but the military advised me today that the area is muddy and far. The area is very muddy,” the President said in Filipino.
Mr. Duterte stayed in Tagbilaran for at least three hours before going to Manila.
The day before, members of the Presidential Management Staff went to the house of the Nazarenos and brought a funeral wreath and cash assistance from Malacañang.
Nazareno, 30, and the youngest of four siblings, was one of the four government troopers killed during the clash in Barangay Napo, Inabanga.
He was killed less than a month after completing his training at the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) last March.
Other government fatalities were 2nd Lieutenant Espelito Saldua Jr., Corporal Meljun Cajaban and Sergeant John Dexter Duero.
On the other hand, five members of the bandit group were killed including their leader Abu Rami.
Dela Rosa arrived in Barangay Ulbujan in Calape town past 7 p.m., on board a van from Tagbilaran, said Senior Insp. Cresente Gurrea, Calape Police Station chief.
He handed the Medalya ng Kadakilaan and financial assistance to Nazareno’s parents Dominador and Galvencia.
Gurrea said Dela Rosa stayed at the wake for an hour before going back to Tagbilaran where he had dinner with Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto at the Governor’s Mansion.
He then proceeded to the port in Tubigon town where he took a fastcraft to Cebu City so he could take an early-morning flight to Manila.
“Although the family grieved the loss of a loved one, they are still proud that he (Nazareno) offered his life for the country,” Dela Rosa said.
“Losing one’s life is part of the life of a policeman. We just have to be careful,” he added.
Dominador, 61, said he thanked the government for the assistance.