A total of 10 troops of the Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion (53IB) received military medals and recognition in connection with the unit’s 37th Founding Anniversary celebration with the theme “Matapat @ 37: Victory in Time of Convergence” at 53IB Headquarters, Camp Sabido, Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur on January 28, 2022.
Five (5) troops received the Silver Cross Medal (SCM) for eminently meritorious and valuable achievement as Primary Agent Handlers during the conduct of Special Intelligence Operations resulting to the seizure of one (1) M16 rifle, seven (7) magazines of AK 47 rifle, one (1) magazine of M16 rifle loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition, 60 rounds of AK 47 ammunition, two (2) bandoliers, one (1) Partido Kumunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) flag, one (1) National Democratic Front (NDF) flag, assorted medical paraphernalia, other war materiel, subversive documents, and other personal belongings.
The recipients of the SCM were the following:
1. Sgt Dante Bentulan
2. Sgt Marben Abrogar
3. Cpl Damacino Randes Jr
4. Cpl Jay Inaniog
5. PFC Chester Andrew Hupa
Meanwhile, five (5) Matapat troops received the Military Merit Medal (MMM) for the successful surrender of six (6) members of the Main Regional Guerilla Unit (MRGU) of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) on August 2, 2019.
The MMM were awarded to the following Matapat Troops:
1. SSg Julius Tantoy
2. Sgt Rondey Dela Cruz
3. Sgt Samuel Sebilo
4. Cpl Jun Mark Pacificar
5. PFC Louie Art Delgado
In his message, 53IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera congratulated the awardees for demonstrating high levels of excellence in the conduct of their respective duties.
“I congratulate each and everyone of you for showing high levels of excellence in serving the people and securing our land,” said Lt. Col. Herrera.
In 2021, the Province of Zamboanga del Sur was declared an “insurgency-free and development-ready” after the dismantling of Communist Terrorist Groups wreaking chaos in the province.