CEBU CITY – The Visayas Command (Viscom) awarded medals to 50 soldiers in recognition of their peace initiatives and combat accomplishments in Negros Island, a military official said Thursday.
Viscom commander Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo personally pinned the civil-military operations (CMO) awards, citing the soldiers’ peacebuilding initiatives in the two provinces in Negros, according to Lt. Col. Israel Galorio, the command’s public information office head.
The 50 awardees –18 officers and 32 enlisted personnel– were from the 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Murcia, Negros Occidental, and its three components --the 94th Infantry Battalion, 79th Infantry Battalion and 15th Infantry Battalion.
Thirteen awardees were pinned with Gold Cross Medal (GCM) for their gallantry during combat in key operations against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.
Also, 13 were awarded with Silver Cross Medal (SCM) for their distinguished achievement and bravery in the conduct of various combat operations while 14 were awarded Military Merit Medal (MMM) with Bronze Spearhead Device for their heroic achievement during military action against the CPP-NPA.
He said five personnel were awarded the Parangal sa Kapanalig ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas (PKSLP) medal and ribbon for their invaluable support to Viscom’s CMO objectives.
The other five, including 303rd Infantry Brigade chief, Brig. Gen. Orlando Edralin, got the Gawad Sa Kaunlaran (GSK) medal for their meritorious achievements, he added.
“The brigades and battalions here in Negros are doing a very good job, as you have been acknowledged and recognized with the most number of successful armed encounters against the CPP-NPA not only by Viscom but also in the entire AFP,” Arevalo said in his speech at a ceremony in Camp Gerona in Murcia.
He said the “awards are our means of honoring our soldiers who painstakingly demonstrated undaunted gallantry in their commitment to uphold just and lasting peace in Negros Island.”
“I take pride in the awardees and to their respective units in all their accomplishments, for it showcases our capability to protect the people and win the peace in the entire Visayas region,” he added.
Despite the accomplishments, Arevalo said the campaign against the CPP-NPA should continue, and the gains must be sustained “to prevent the terrorist group from recovering and keep up the momentum to further push the terrorist group to their imminent defeat.” (PNA)