A Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) personnel who was killed in the 2017 Marawi City siege while saving his comrades has been awarded with the highest military merit for his acts of heroism.
In a statement Saturday, July 10, the PMC said that President Duterte recently awarded the Medal of Valor (Medalya ng Kagitingan) to Corporal Gener Tinangag. His rank was elevated a step higher from Private First Class after getting the post-humous award.
The Valor award is the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) highest military honor “awarded for a conspicuous deed of personal bravery or self-sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty that distinguises the recipient from his comrades.”
Tinangag was bestowed with the award by virtue of General Order No. 813, issued by the AFP General Headquarters last May 31 but was only made known publicly on Saturday, after saving four wounded Marines on his own and extricating the body of a slain comrade during the Marawi siege.
A native of Barlig, Mt. Province, then Private First Class Tinangag was an assistant automatic rifleman of the Special Operations Platoon (SOP), Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT)-5.
His unit was among the first to respond when local and foreign terrorists, led by the Maute terror group, laid siege in Marawi City on May 23, 2017 in an attempt to establish a caliphate or base of Islamic State (IS) in the country.
On June 9, 2017, the MBLT-5 reinforced MBLT-7 and Marine Special Operations Group (MARSOG) in the vicinity of Mapandi Bridge in Brgy. Lilod Madaya, Marawi City.
At the time, the war had been on-going for over two weeks and the weary MBLT-7 and MARSOG personnel were engaged under heavy fire by the “numerically superior” Maute terrorists.
Tinangag and his comrades at the MBLT-5 carried out a retrogade operation to extricate their fellow Marines so they “would not be trapped and pinned down with their backs against the Agus River.”
Under a heavy concentration of enemy snipers, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and Molotov cocktails, Tinangag and three other Marines volunteered to extricate the killed and wounded soldiers of the MBLT-7 and MARSOG. After making several trips to the enemy encampment, Tinangag’s companions took a break and sought cover to rest.
However, Tinangag continued the mission on his own.
“Disregarding his own safety and acting without orders, PFC Tinangag stealthily maneuvered and crawled through the rubbles to get close to ohter casualties while fearlessly and repeatedly exposing himself from the enemies’ line of fire,” part of the General Order wrote.
Tinangag managed to rescue four more wounded Marines namely Corporals Rolan Sumagpang, Michael Santos, Franclin Sumalde; and Private First Class Pfizer Paglinawan who were holed up inside a mosque adjacent to a cluster of buildings being attacked by the terrorists.
Shortly thereafter, Tinangag’s movements drew the attention of the enemy sniper fires in the nearby buildings. This did not stop Tinangag as he made his final move to the kill zone to recover the body of a fallen comrade, First Lieutenant John Frederick Savellano, who had been killed by the enemies.
“While single-handedly recovering the body of 1Lt. John Frederick Savellano, PFC Tinangag took an enemy sniper shot to the stomach and was peppered with shrapnel from an enemy grenade,” the General Order said.
Despite his wounds, Tinangag mustered all his remaining strength and carried Savellano under the rubbles of the buildings to a safety location about 200 meters away from the enemy encampment. After making sure that Savellano’s body was safe, he collapsed due to his wounds and was later declared dead at a nearby medical station.
“His selfless sacrifice raised the morale of the troops to valiantly advance in a ferocious battle and subsequently liberated Marawi City from the terrorists,” the General Order said.
On October 23, 2017, four months after Tinangag’s death, the war ended and Marawi City was liberated from the terrorists.