Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry “TABAK” Division Commander Maj. Gen. Gene Ponio bestowed Military Medals to deserving 53rd Infantry “MATAPAT” Battalion (53IB) Troopers for gallantry in action during the 53IB’s 36th Founding Anniversary Celebration Program with the theme: “MATAPAT@36: Remember with Gratitude, Renew with Passion” on January 26, 2021, at 53IB Headquarters, Camp Major Sabido, Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur.
Awards received by the Matapat Troopers were three (3) Gold Cross Medals, twelve (12) Military Merit Medals, and six (6) Military Commendation Medals.
“Congratulations to all the awardees. The whole organization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) celebrates and are proud of you as you accomplished such heroic deeds to achieve these rewards,” Maj. Gen. Ponio said.
“These acts are representations that we have achieved evolving professional Army, living according to the Army Values and Ethos every day, whether on or off duty,” he added.
The fourth highest military award in the Philippines, the Gold Cross Medal is a decoration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which recognizes gallantry in action.
The Military Merit Medal is awarded for heroic achievement in combat or meritorious achievement for service not involving participation in combat, in connection with military operations against an enemy of the Philippines, for a single act of meritorious service either in a duty responsibility or in direct support of military operations.
The Military Commendation Medal is a military decoration presented to members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for exemplary execution of military duty.
The 3 Gold Cross Medal Awardees were Cpl. Fritz Floyed T. Prejoles, Pfc. Christian M. Ambongan, and Pfc. Jay T. Inaniog for gallantry in action during a Twenty-Five (25) minutes encounter in Barangay Marangan, Dumingag. Zamboanga del Sur on September 21, 2020, that resulted to the recovery of One (1) body count, Two (2) M16 Rifles and One (1) Grenade Launcher, One (1) AK47 Rifle, One Improvised Explosive Device (IED), and One Rifle Grenade, Assorted Ammunitions, Magazines, Bandoleers, Communication equipment, Propaganda materials, Medical paraphernalia, NPA flag and other war materials.
The said 25 minutes’ fire fight also resulted to the wounding and capture of Roel Monasque alias “Jotham/Henry,” Commander of New People’s Army (NPA) Main Regional Guerilla Unit (MRGU) in Zamboanga del Sur.
The said NPA Commander was abandoned by his communist comrades after he suffered several gunshot wounds leading to his apprehension during the joint law-enforcement operation conducted on the following day.
The 12 Military Merit Medal Awardees were 2Lt. George V. Yu Jr., Sgt. Eman Glen P. Pitogo, Sgt. Mighty Wizard G. Domingo, Sgt. Ernesto C. Torres, Cpl Edsel B. Bendanillo, Cpl. Jervy M. Lacuarda, Pfc. Jesson L. Anadeo, Pfc. Jonard O. Ombiang, Pfc. Marchsteven D. Guigue, Pfc Francis Angelo M. Dajay, Pfc. Cherry Dawn T. Tabasa, Pfc. John Kendrick D. Wangiwang, Pfc. Daniel Rey M. Solidum, Pfc. Jayson M. Lactuan, Pfc. Jaiyson B. Balcita, Pfc. Jhon Michael M. Isong, Pfc. Charity Z. Hibaya, Pfc. Cherry May M. Salutin, Pfc. Aries S. Juaton, Pfc. Ricson V. Templonuevo, Pfc. Virgilion S. Gilid Jr., and Pfc. Radzor M. Arolla.
The said Military Merit Medal is awarded to the twelve Matapat Troopers for their meritorious and invaluable service rendered as Civil-Military Operations (CMO) Officers and members of the 53IB during the successful conduct of three (3) days Youth Leadership Summit (YLS) at 1st Infantry “TABAK” Division on March 6-8, 2020.
The 6 Military Commendation Medal Awardees were Cpt. Bahnarin K. Camsa, 2Lt. George V. Yu Jr., Sgt. Ralfh C. Montiel, Pfc. Jevelen D. Robledo, Pfc. Marchsteven D. Guigue, Pfc. Daniel Rey M. Solidum for exemplary performance and loyalty to duty during the distribution of livelihood kits to Former Rebels (FRs) held at Headquarters Camp Major David P Sabido, Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur with the collaboration of Local Government Units (LGUs).