AWARDEES. Three soldiers under the Army's 58th Infantry Battalion are given military medals and cash incentives at the Misamis Oriental Capitol in Cagayan de Oro City Monday (August 8, 2022). From left: Pfc. Gabriel Sisayan, recipient of the Military Medal; Pfc. Rogen Rollon, Gold Cross Medal; and Cpl. Junaide Alger, Silver Cross Medal. (Photo courtesy of MisOr PIO)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Three soldiers under the Army's 58th Infantry Battalion (58IB) were honored Monday for their contributions to the government's anti-communist insurgency campaign in Misamis Oriental province.

Governor Peter Unabia led the pinning of the Gold Cross Medal to Private 1st Class (PFC) Rogen J. Rollon over the success of the encounter against Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels in Barangay Bal-ason, Gingoog City, in December last year.

Rollon was cited for engaging against two NPA combatants and seizing an M16 rifle, an AR18 rifle, two AK47 rifles and one 203 grenade launcher from the rebels' positions.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Ricky Canatoy, the 58IB commander, also pinned the Silver Cross Medal to Cpl. Junaide Alger, who was recognized as the agent handler during the case operation plan “Magilas.”

That operation led to the three apprehensions of NPA personalities in Barangay Talusan, Balingasag town, in October 2021.

A Military Merit Medal was also given to Pfc. Gabriel Sisayan, who contributed to the success of the Army's encounter in Barangay Libertad, Gingoog City, in June last year.

Sisayan was responsible for the seizure of an M15 rifle and one Carbine rifle from the NPA hideout.

Unabia, who also provided cash reward for each of the awardees, expressed the provincial government's gratitude for the soldiers for maintaining peace and order.

“The reward, amounting to PHP25,000, is nothing compared to the (life-threatening) job that they do,” he said.

Former rebels in the province are also being assisted by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), he added.

Unabia said government agencies must ensure that former rebels undergo “social preparation” before they formally integrate with the community.

“We would like to see that the amount (cash assistance) they are receiving will be sustainable for them (former rebels),” the governor said.

Unabia cited an example of a former rebel who received PHP500,000 worth of cash assistance and planned in using the money to buy land for his parents and family.

The governor hopes that other rebel surrenderers would emulate the same attitude in managing the assistance. (PNA)