Friday, March 27, 2015

4 wounded soldiers receive awards, 2 promoted for bravery in battles

From the Website of AFP
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CAMP EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City – General Gregorio Pio Catapang, Jr., the Chief-of-Staff Armed Forces of the Philippines, awarded the Wounded Personnel Medal  to four soldiers who figured bravely in various encounters with New People’s Army (NPA) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) this year.
General Catapang also assured Staff Sergeant Pio Himaldong and Private First Class Ramil Akiatan promotion to next higher ranks for surviving separate attacks from NPAs and Abu Sayaf Group (ASG).
They received their awards and recognition from the AFP morning of Tuesday (March 24) in AFP Medical Center in V. Luna Road, Quezon City while still in their hospital beds receiving medical care from military doctors and nurses.
The Wounded Personnel Medal is awarded to members of and civilians employed by the AFP who are injured or killed in combat with the enemy.  Its equivalent is the Purple Heart Award of the US Armed Forces.

Among those who received the award was Second Lieutenant Eljuhn Aboc, 26, from Cagayan de Oro City. He just graduated from Philippine Military Academy last year.
He said he was wounded on his right arm during an encounter with more or less ten (10) NPA remnants in Barangay Limos, Pinukpuk, Kalinga while conducting blocking and patrol in February 28, 2015.
Aboc was leading his squad in response to an ambush conducted by the same group of NPAs against three (3) other soldiers earlier in an adjacent barangay.
He and his squad were tasked in Kalinga to conduct Bayanihan projects with the local government units.
“My only thought was to live through the experience,” he said. “I expect more of these to come in the future because that is how the life of a soldier is but I take it as a lesson in soldiery.”
Staff Sergeant Marlon Sanico, 48, Zamboanga del Sur, was wounded by shrapnel on his limbs and shoulder when under attack from more or less fifty (50) BIFFs in barangay Katibpuan, Talayan, Maguindanao in March 7, 2015.
He was one of the soldiers deployed for the law enforcement operations against the BIFF with the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“We were just one (1) kilometre away from the enemies in a ditch. They were hiding in trenches too,” he said.
He saw two of his comrades shot by enemy snipers on the head and the jaw while others fell wounded beside him.
Despite his wounds, he turned back to pick up a wounded comrade while bullets rained around him.
Private First Class Rogelio Labi, 26, from North Cotabato, was wounded on both legs by shrapnel and bullets while his platoon was reinforcing Sanico’s unit in the same encounter with BIFF.
“We were looking to save the wounded and ended up closer to the enemy,” he said.
They were blinded by the darkness and could not determine the location of the enemy. They were bombarded by a machine gun by the BIFF which killed one of his comrades.
“Nobody wins in wars, both sides lose,” he said.
Arturo Ancheta, brother of Private First Class Lester King Ancheta, beamed with pride but there were tears in his eyes for his younger brother.
Ancheta, 23, was among the five (5) wounded in an encounter with NPAs in Barangay Legleg, Quirino, Ilocos Sur last February 26, 2015. Four (4) from his unit were killed in battle. He sustained shots on various parts of the body including a shot from an AK 47 which entered his upper chest then existed through his lower back.
They were conducting clearing operations with PNP against NPA when they were ambushed by more or less ten (10) NPAs.

PFC Ramil Akiatan, 35, of 32nd IB, said he will be promoted to Corporal after he sustained injuries from an anti-vehicle landmine.
His head wound received twelve (12) stitches while his left shoulder was dislocated. A shrapnel is still in his arm to be removed by surgery soon.
He and his unit were returning to their camp from inventorying firearms from Alpha Company in Maguindanao when they were landmined while on a military truck by ASG.
They encountered thirty (30) ASGs who also fired at them even as they were thrown in different directions by the bomb.
The ASG were under the command of Commander Sahiron.
He said three (3) from his unit were killed while six (6) were wounded.
Despite their experiences, most of them said they would still go back to the field.
“Ganun talaga trabaho ng sundalo,” they said.

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