President Rodrigo Duterte postponed his meeting with North Cotabato farmers on Friday as he chose to visit the slain and wounded soldiers attacked by rebels in Eastern Samar.
Meanwhile, President Duterte ordered the grant of P2,000 worth of monthly financial support to the members of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit in recognition of their services.
The order was signed on Nov. 8 but was released by Malacañang only on Thursday.
Duterte was initially scheduled to meet with farmers in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, according to the Palace, and no explanation was offered as to why he changed his schedule for the day.
Six soldiers were killed while 20 others were wounded in Eastern Samar on Monday after members of the New People’s Army detonated six explosives in Pinanag-an village in Borongan City.
Six improvised explosive devices went off as the soldiers arrived in the mountainous area following a tip that armed rebels had been extorting money from locals.
This was followed by a 30-minute firefight with an estimated 50 guerrillas.
Officials in Eastern Samar were saddened by the killing and wounding of the soldiers.
When asked about the Chief Executive’s postponement of event in North Cotabato, Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte was busy with paperwork.
“He was reading briefs and documents and pouring over them," Panelo told reporters.
Duterte has been working from his home in Davao City since Tuesday to avoid "distractions" in Manila.
Asked if the President would stay home to continue with his unfinished paperwork, Panelo said: "It's up to him. He will be the one to decide about the things he wants to do."
The President is set to return to Malacañang next week. With PNA