AFP Chief confers Medal of Valor to Marine slain in Marawi siege

Published November 8, 2021, 4:58 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

General Jose Faustino Jr., Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), bestowed the Medal of Valor (Medalya ng Kagitingan) to a Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) officer who offered his life to save four of his comrades and extricate the body of another who was slain during the Marawi siege in 2017.

Marine Corporal Gener Tinangag’s rank gets elevated to Private First Class, a step higher, after he is conferred with the Medal of Valor. (Photo: PMC)

Marine Private First Class Gener Tinangag was post-humuously awarded by Faustino with the AFP’s highest military honor for his conspicuous deed of personal bravery or self-sacrifice that went above and beyond the call of his duty.

Mrs. Marcia Tinangag, the hero’s mother, accepted the award during the 71st founding anniversary celebration of the PMC at the Marine Barracks Rudiardo Brown in Taguig City on Sunday, Nov. 7.

“To this day, each Marine continues to live up to the highest standards of professionalism and excellence as exemplified by their brilliant roster of predecessors,” Faustino said.

“As a testament to this, in the past year alone, the superior war-fighting capabilities of the PMC deployed in various areas of operation, has successfully resulted to the decisive defeat and dismantling of various threat groups wrecking chaos and terrorism amongst the disadvantaged communities,” he added.

Tinangag was bestowed with the award by virtue of General Order No. 813, issued by the AFP General Headquarters last May 31, after he saved four wounded Marines on his own and extricated 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.

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 managed to rescue four 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.

Tinangag’s movements drew the attention of the enemy sniper fires in the nearby buildings but this did not stop him as he made his final move to the kill zone to recover the body of a fallen comrade, First Lieutenant John Frederick Savellano.

But while single-handedly recovering the body of Savellano, Tinangag took an enemy sniper shot to the stomach and was peppered with shrapnel from an enemy grenade.

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, Tinangag collapsed due to his wounds and was later declared dead at a nearby medical station.

General Jose Faustino Jr. attends the 71st founding anniversary celebration of the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) at the Marine Barracks Rudiardo Brown in Taguig City on Nov. 7, 2021. (Photo: PMC)

Meanwhile, Faustino also awarded other outstanding Marine personnel and stakeholders who contributed to the mission success of the PMC.

The Outstanding Achievement Medal was given to Marine Colonel Ivan Papera for his “extraordinary achievement” as chairperson of the Project Management Team for the amphibious assault vehicle acquisition project of the PMC under the AFP Modernization Act.

Other awardees included Marine Lt. Col. Michael Ariel Delos Reyes, Distinguished Service Star; Staff Sgt. Donald Olegario, Gold Cross Medal; Cpl. James Bryan Luab, Silver Cross Medal; Cpl Melanie Doctor, Gawad sa Kaunlaran; Cpl. Jhon Kristoffer Magaluna, Bronze Cross Medal;

Reserve Marine Brig. Gen. Rodylyn Manzano and Reserve Marine 1Lt. Dante Perello, Parangal sa Kapanalig ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas; Staff Sgt. Vincent Ed Baniel, Philippine Marine Corps Plaque and Philippine Marine Corps Enlisted Personnel of the Year Badge; Ms Dayanara Samontan, Philippine Marine Corps Plaque; and Marine Battalion Landing Team-7, Philippine Marine Corps Plaque and Streamer.

The PMC Plaque was also awarded to (Ret.) Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, Lt. Col. Brian Bosse of the United States Army, Raul Regondola, Jovel Gerenozo Mendoza, and Sulu Representative Abdulmunir Arbison for their “invaluable support rendered to the PMC by providing various services and assistance which contributed to the accomplishment of the Corps’ mission.”