Women power! PH Army pays tribute to 15 female soldiers

Published March 8, 2021, 5:43 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

Fifteen female soldiers who have made their mark in the male-dominated Philippine Army (PA) were hailed by the military in celebration of the International Women’s Day on Monday (March 8).

Lt. Col. Lourdes Guevarra, chief of the Office of Army Gender and Development, honored all the women in the Army whom she said “polevaulted the impetus of the multifaceted roles of women in development and nation-building” especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been pressed with our emotional and mental health during the time of pandemic. But the limitations at hand never made our potentials limited. As a matter of fact, some women led the froontline against the COVId-19 and that brought a new definition of women — climbing up the ladder towards a top-level participation in the military management system,” she said.

Among the thousands of Army personnel all over the country, 15 female officers were hailed as the “Army Women of Today” as they proved that gender is not a hindrance in achieving success in the military organization.

They are:

  1. Colonel Belinda Ganotice, an explosive specialist, the first female commander of the Explosive Ordnance and Disposal Battalion of the Army Support Command;
  2. Col. Arlene Frage, an experienced armor warrior, the first female Company Commander of the Army Armor Unit;
  3. Lieutenant Colonel Conception Reano, the first female recipient of the Distinguished Conduct Star, the second highest military medal for combat in the Philippines;
  4. Lt. Col. Madelyn de Guzman, a signal operator, adjudged as the “Best Battalion Commander” of the Army Signal Regiment in 2018;
  5. Lt. Col. Leah Santiago, a member of the Female Army Shooting Team, the first female Infantry Company Commander and first female Artillery Battalion Commander;
  6. Lt. Col. Leonora Bascoguin, a free faller, the first female honorary member of the elite Scout Ranger unit;
  7. Lt. Col. Maria Victoria Blancaflor, a cavalier, the first female Platoon Leader of the 7th Light Armor Company;
  8. Lt. Col. Lourdes Guevarra, a canoneer, the first female Battery Commander of the “B” Battery, 12 Field Artillery Battalion of the 6th Division Artillery;
  9. Technical Sergeant Lorna Macutay, the first female aircraft mechanic and first female aircrew member of the Philippine Army;
  10. Major Conny Amor Bartolome, the first female helicopter pilot of the Philippine Army;
  11. Maj. Riza Boral, a female rescue personnel who led the Army women of Task Force Davao during a series of rescue and relief operations when typhoon Vinta struck Davao region in 2017;
  12. Maj. Ma. Kristine Hindang, a medic officer, recipient of the “Gawad Bayaning Kalusugan” from the Philippien Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Association of Allied Health Organization of the Nation;
  13. Captain Jennylyn Tamacay, a member of the Army Construction team, a recipient of the Outstanding Women in Law Enforcement and National Security (OWLENS) in 2019 for her participation during the 2017 Marawi City siege as the Artillery Battery Commander;
  14. Capt. Jovita Buclat, an Army engineer, a recipient of the Outstanding Women in Law Enforcement and National Security (OWLENS) in 2019 for her participation during the 2017 Marawi City siege as the Armor Company Commander; and
  15. Senior Master Sergeant Bella Mercado, a logistics officer, the first female Sergeant Major of the Logistics Support Group of the Philippine Army.