Friday, October 3, 2014

Filipino Peacekeepers earn medals for bravery in Syrian stand-off

Filipino Peacekeepers earn medals for bravery in Syrian stand-off 

CAMP AGUINALDO, QUEZON CITY— Filipino peacekeepers who figured in a tense stand-off and fire-fight in Golan Heights received awards and recognition for exhibiting bravery and commitment to their mandate during their tour as part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

The 7th Philippine Contingent to Golan Heights (7th PCGH) that arrived in the country on September 19 and 21 were awarded medals in different degrees for accomplishing their missions in both combat and administrative capacities.

This is the first time that Filipino soldiers received military combat awards for their deployment overseas since the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) deployed in the 1950s.

In an awarding ceremony and courtesy call at 9 a.m. today at Malacanang Palace, President Benigno S Aquino III personally conferred the prestigious Distinguished Service Medal to UNDOF Chief of Staff Col Ezra James P Enriquez and Contingent Commander LtCol Ted B Dumusmog for their eminently meritorious and valuable service rendered and for providing command and control as well as swift judgment that allowed the successful repositioning of the besieged peacekeepers manning Position 68.

Gold Cross Medals (GCM) were also awarded to eight officers and enlisted personnel stationed at Position 68. They were led by Cpt Nilo S Ramones, Position Commander at Position 68, for gallantry in action during the four-day crisis where they protected their facilities and defended themselves against advancing Syrian rebels.

“I am very happy that our efforts and sacrifices as peacekeepers were recognized. We are so lucky and honoured that President Aquino himself awarded us with the medals. We are likewise indebted to our Chief of Staff along with all his staff who were there to support and guide us from day one of the standoff until the minute we got to safer grounds,” Cpt Ramones said.

Also awarded with the GCM were 2LT Larry A Endozo, MSgt Wilson M Lagmay, Sgt Alwin M Cuyos, SSg Leonardo C Aboy, SSg Andy R Mejos, SSg Ramil R Bobiles, and Corporal Joneve B Acolicol for their gallantry in action as part of the contingent at Position 68.

“We thank our battalion commander and post commander in Golan Heights and all officers and personnel here in the Philippines who did not neglect us during our hard times in Golan Heights,” Sgt. Alwin M. Cuyos, one of the awardees said.

Bronze Cross Medals were also awarded at the General Headquarters here following the awarding ceremony at Malacanang Palace. Cpt Ricardo B Nolasco, SSg Arnold D Liwanag, and Cpl Jober G Babaran received the award for their meritorious and valuable service rendered as members of the Rapid Reaction Group, 2nd Company, 7th PCGH during the crisis.

The awarding ceremony at the General Headquarters was led by the AFP Chief of Staff General Gregorio Pio P Catapang Jr and facilitated by the Commanding Officer of the AFP Peacekeeping Operations Center Col Roberto T Ancan.

Military Merit Medals in different degrees were also awarded to 174 officers and enlisted personnel of the 7th PCGH for their meritorious service rendered in their respective designations that led to the successful operations during the crisis.

Among them are LtCol Camilo A Saddam and Maj Nolito A Quemi of the Command Group, 7PCGH, UNDOF; Maj Jamal M Bonsa and other troops of Position 60; Cpt Julius G Ursua and members of the Battalion Mobile Reserve; 1Lt Rogecel L Labajo and other troops of Position 69; and Maj Julian C Cayandag Jr and troops of the Rapid Reaction Group.
Aside from these awards, the 329-strong contingent also received their UN Service Medals for completing their tour of duty in Golan Heights. They were deployed on November 29 last year.

“The intent of our Chief of Staff, General Catapang, is to honor our soldiers, to ensure that our peacekeepers are given the appropriate recognition due them for bravely representing our country in Golan Heights,” LTC Cabunoc said.

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