Some 54 soldiers of the Philippine Army and a paramilitary trooper have been awarded medals for their participation in a series of successful encounters with Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels in central and southern Negros earlier this month.
In separate rites on Monday, Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of 3rd Infantry Division, bestowed Military Merit Medals on 33 recipients from the 15th Infantry Battalion (15IB), comprising two officers, 31 enlisted personnel, and a Cafgu Active Auxiliary member, based in Cauayan town, as well as on 20 soldiers of 62IB, including two officers and 18 enlisted personnel, at the unit’s headquarters in Isabela town.
“May this award serve as inspiration and motivation to do your best as a soldier and to serve and secure the peace-loving people not only in Negros Island, but also in other areas of Western and Central Visayas,” Arevalo said.
The Army official recognized the strategies employed by the troops in locating and hitting the enemies as he told the soldiers to remember they were once involved in an encounter that led to victory and their efforts were recognized.
On April 19, troops of 15IB clashed with communist rebels in Sitio Bajay, Barangay Caliling, Cauayan, resulting in the death of NPA squad leader Celso Tribunalo, 62, and the recovery of a high-powered firearm.
Two days later on April 21, another encounter took place between soldiers of 62IB and NPA fighters in Sitio Halog, Barangay Sandayao in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, where troops seized several high-powered firearms and ammunition.
Meanwhile, a soldier of 94IB received the Wounded Personnel Medal from Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade, in a ceremony held at a detachment in Barangay Mahalang, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental on April 18.
On April 14, Cpl. Reno Gicole was wounded during a firefight at Sitio Pandan, Barangay Caradio-an in the same city that claimed the life of alias Johnny, leader of Squad 1, Sentro de Grabidad Platoon of the NPA’s Central Negros Front 2.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The National Democratic Front (NDF) has also been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973.
Source: Philippines News Agency