Senate hails Lorenzana, Sobejana and 50 other AFP soldiers set to receive medals from Joko Widodo

Published May 23, 2022, 3:31 PM

by Mario Casayuran

The Senate foreign relations committee commended today (May 23) Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana and 50 other soldiers who will receive medals from Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

“It would be a great honor and privilege for Secretary Lorenzana and General Sobejana to be the first ever Filipinos to receive the prestigious Medal of Peace, in recognition of their meritorious achievements, particularly in developing peace, diplomacy, friendship, and brotherhood with Indonesia,” Pimentel, committee chairman, said in today’s Senate hybrid plenary session.

He said the awards is “a concrete manifestation of our fruitful and effective defense and security cooperation (with Indonesia).’’

The Indonesian government is honoring Lorenzana and Sobejana and other AFP officers for their roles in the rescue of Indonesian fishermen in 2019 and 2020 off Malaysian waters near the southern end of Mindanao.

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of the Senate national defense and security committee, asked if the names of the officers and soldiers who actually participated in the rescue operations were included or cited in the proposed resolution.

‘’Because if not, I would propose an amendment to include their names in the concurrent resolution before we pass it,’’ he said.

Pimentel replied that he has the document which, in effect, is a communication, a list of 53 AFP personnel honorary recipients of the Indonesian government.

‘’But in the House of Representatives concurrent resolution, the 53 names are not included. We can accommodate,’’ he added.

Lacson said ‘’I would like to think we should include their names in the resolution as proposed ‘’because they are the men on the ground.’’

‘’They risked their lives more than Secretary Lorenzana and former Chief of Staff Sobejana. They deserve to be cited in the proposed resolution. That’s all Mr. (Senate) cPresident,’’ he added.

‘’Yes Sir, it’s easy to do that… and other AFP personnel to receive the award… by amendment we list their names,’’ Pimentel pointed out.