By Jennifer P. Rendon
Thirty-two Philippine Army members were cited for their gallant acts following an encounter with suspected New People’s Army (NPA) at Dumalag, Capiz last Feb 17, 2023.
The Military Merit Medal with Bronze Spearhead Device was given to two officers and 30 enlisted personnel of the 31st Division Reconnaissance Company (DRC) in a ceremony at the 12th Infantry Battalion headquarters at Barangay Libot, Calinog, Iloilo on Feb 23, 2023.
Lieutenant General Benedict Arevalo, AFP Visayas Command (VisCom) and outgoing 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division commander, led the pinning of the merit medals.
He was assisted by Colonel Michael Samson, 301st Infantry (Bayanihan) Brigade commander, and Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Timbal, 12th Infantry (Lick ‘Em) Battalion commander.
The 31st DRC is under the operational control of the 301st Infantry (Bayanihan) Brigade and had been placed under the tactical control of the 12th IB.
The awarded personnel figured in a combat operation against five NPAs believed to be members of the Igabon Platoon of the NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay.
The encounter led to the recovery of a homemade 12-gauge shotgun, a caliber .45 pistol, two anti-personnel mines with detonator switches, a hand grenade, five magazines for an M16 rifle, two magazines for a .45-caliber pistol, assorted live ammunition, personal belongings, assorted medicine, and subversive documents.
Samson lauded the accomplishments of the troops for their efforts to neutralize rebel forces.
Samson has also enthused other soldiers to follow the lead of gallantry shown by the awardees.
“May this award serve as inspiration for us to strive more and work effectively, efficiently, and relentlessly to achieve our common goal of a just and lasting peace here in the Islands of Panay and Guimaras,” Samson said.