By Francis Wakefield
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Calrito Galvez Jr., awarded on Monday 11 soldiers and three civilian employees during the flag-raising ceremony at the General Headquarters Canopy Area, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
In his speech, Galvez said the AFP appreciates every soldier and civilian human resource who gives more than what is required and who delivers more than what is expected.
“This is in keeping with our desire to continue advancing the morale and welfare of our personnel for they are the most valuable and most indispensable asset in our organization,” Galvez said.
Awarded with the Gold Cross Medal were one military officer and four enlisted personnel who fought against Maute-ISIS terrorists during the five-month battle in Marawi City in 2017. They were 1st Lt Loui Legarde, Pfc Ericson Sinfuego, Pfc Rodel Camat and Pfc Christian Hapita all from the 2nd Infantry Division, Philippine Army (PA), and Cpl. Benjie Ortizano from 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion, First Scout Ranger Regiment, PA.
They were all part of the combat operations against the Maute-ISIS terrorists that resulted in the neutralization of enemies and recovery of various high-powered and low-powered firearms.
The Distinguished Navy Cross, on the other hand, was awarded to Lt. Ruel Casiple who was part of various naval operations under Joint Task Force Trident’s Naval Task Unit Marawi.
Awarded with the Meritorious Achievement Medal were Maj. Alwin Maneja from the Civil Relations Service and Maria Shirley Bautista from the Office of The Adjutant General.
Maneja led the conceptualization and implementation of the AFP’s Virtual Radio Television in May 2017 while Bautista contributed in the development and publication of AFP Military Correspondence Book in October 2017.
The Chief of Staff, AFP Commendation Medal and Ribbon was awarded to Maj. Van Donald Almonte and Lt. Ryan Octaviano from the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Education and Training, OJ8. They were AFP’s lead planners for the 33rd Philippines-United States Balikatan Exercises conducted in May 2017.
The same award was given to Maj. Jessie Bergonia and Jessica Dimaya from the Office of the Internal Auditor. They were recognized for their achievements in addressing the numerous, tedious and critical audit observations and recommendations from the Commission on Audit which paved way to the significant improvement on the COA Auditor’s Opinion with respect to the financial position of the AFP in 2016.
The Gawad sa Kaunlaran award were given to Master Sgt. Romeo Cammayo from the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, OJ5, and Maricel De Guzman from the Office of the Chief of Staff for Personnel, OJ1. Cammayo supervised various socioeconomic and noncombatant activities for the AFP while De Guzman immensely contributed in improving the quality of life of the beneficiaries of soldiers who were killed in action as well as the welfare of those wounded during the Marawi crisis.
“We draw inspirations from the individual achievements of our awardees. Let their triumphs encourage all of us to work harder, not for the awards and recognition, but because of the fulfillment that a job well done brings to us,” Galvez said to soldiers and civilians who attended the ceremony.
“Let their achievement enjoin all of us to continue working harder and remind ourselves that we too can accomplish something great for the organization, even in our own, simple ways,” he added.