President Benigno Aquino III joined top military officials at Camp Aguinaldo to recognize the soldiers who were deployed in the Zamboanga siege in an awarding ceremony on Monday, Nov. 4.
Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Emmanuel T. Bautista joined Aquino in awarding 12 officers and six enlisted personnel in a joint flag-raising and awarding ceremony.
“These 18 soldiers are just a representation of the 2,400 soldiers that were deployed in Zamboanga. More than 500 soldiers have already been given awards. More awards will be handed out to their respective units and during AFP day,” military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala said.
“Everyone is recognized, especially those directly involved in direction with enemy forces at that time,” he said.
The Distinguished Conduct Star was awarded to Lt. Col. Oriel L. Pangcog, Battalion Commander of Joint Special Operations Task Group Arrow and Captain Reynir S. Nirza of AFP Joint Operations Group for their conspicuous acts of courage and gallantry in the face of the enemy.
Lt. Gen. Rey C. Ardo, Commander, Western Mindanao Command; Brig. Gen. Rodelio V. Santos, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations; and Lt. Col. Ramon P. Zagala, Chief, AFP Public Affairs Office each received a Distinguished Service Star for their eminently meritorious and valuable service rendered during the Zamboanga siege.
Leading the Gold Cross Medal awardees was Army 1Lt. Francis Damian who died after sustaining gunshot wounds during an encounter with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Misuari faction. His wife, LtJg. Aemy Leslie Damian received the posthumous award in his honor. Other officers who received Gold Cross Medals are Army 1Lt. Jerson A. Jurilla, Marine 1Lt. Dexter R. Carin, and Navy LtJg. Joey B. Cayao. Enlisted Personnel who also received said medal are Army Sgt. Larry C. Lopez, Navy F1MR Abelardo E. Angelo, Air Force Sgt. Salvador B. Codon Jr. and Army SSgt. Allan S. Adap, while Nicolas Saquing received the posthumous Gold Cross Medal in honor of his late father, Cpl. Eduardo C. Saquing who died during the crisis.
A Bronze Cross Medal was awarded to Maj. Caezar Almer E. Candelaria of the Medical Corps for acts of heroism involving risk of life as Team Leader of the Medical Team, Special Operations Task Group.
A Military Merit Medal with Bronze Spearhead Device was awarded to Air Force Maj. Renie N. Aureo and Army Cpt. Dranreb E. Lansang for gallantry in action; while Marine Pfc. Eduardo A. Jose who was wounded in action received the Wounded Personnel Medal.