President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday condoled with the families of soldiers who perished in the Philippines' worst military air disaster in 30 years, saying he feels very "sorrowful" as he promised government help.
Calling the visit a "very sorrowful event," Duterte checked on wounded soldiers in Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City and met with families of troops who were killed in the C-130 crash in Patikul, Sulu on Sunday.
At least 50 people, mostly military personnel, were killed while 53 others were injured when the C-130 plane of the Philippine Air Force "skidded" and burst into flames.
"I commiserate with you and I am as sorrowful as you. As commander-in-chief, ako yung pinakanasasaktan...I am at a loss for words," the President said during his visit.
"Nung ibinalita sa akin, as usual, I go through a process of sorrow... They died for our country and for that I am very grateful," he said.
Duterte conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu Kampilan and Kalasag medals to soldiers who were wounded and killed in action, and told families that he wanted to improve the benefits awarded to the military.
"I assure you, I will add more benefits for your families," he said.
The Order of Lapu-Lapu is given to persons who rendered extraordinary service in support of the President’s campaign or advocacy.
The Kampilan Medal is conferred on persons who were seriously wounded or suffered great loss of property as a direct result of their participation in an activity in support of the President's advocacy while the Kalasag Medal is given to persons who lost their lives as a direct result of their participation in such activity.