Indonesia’s Widodo to give peace award to Lorenzana, Sobejana, 53 military personnel

Published May 25, 2022, 1:04 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is looking forward to receive the prestigious “Medal of Peace” from Indonesian President Joko Widodo for his contributions in keeping the Southeast Asia region peaceful.

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana speaks to the media during the opening ceremony of the fourth Asian Defense, Security, and Crisis Management Exhibition and Conference (ADAS) at the World Trade Center in Pasay City on April 27, 2022. (MANILA BULLETIN)

Lorenzana and retired General Cirilito Sobejana, former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, will be conferred the Medal of Peace by Widodo in Indonesia for their roles in the rescue of Indonesian fishermen who were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in 2019 off Malaysian waters near the southern end of Mindanao.

Fifty-three other military personnel will also receive the “Dharma Defense Medal” from Widodo for their “excellent collaboration” with Indonesian counterparts that led to the rescue of the Indonesian fishermen.

The Senate adopted House Concurrent Resolution No. 23 last Monday, allowing Lorenzana, Sobejana, and the 53 other personnel to receive the awards from Widodo.

Among the lawmakers who congratulated the awardees was Senator Risa Hontiveros, who said in a Facebook post Tuesday, May 24, that she “wholeheartedly” supports the Senate’s move to adopt the resolution in recognition of Lorenzana, Sobejana, and the other military personnel’s efforts to maintain peace and security not only in the Philippines but in the entire region.

In the comments section of Hontiveros’ post, Lorenzana expressed gratitude to the legislator’s kind words.

“Thank you for your kind words on the award that I and Gen. Sobejana are receiving from the Indonesian government. I will humbly receive the award on behalf of the men and women, soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who did the work and continuously working to keep our borders free of piracy,” Lorenzana said.

(Screenshot from DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s comment on Sen. Risa Hontiveros’ Facebook post)

The Defense Chief also congratulated Hontiveros for her re-election as a senator in the 2022 national elections. He also thanked Hontiveros for the support she has accorded the DND and AFP in the past six years under the current administration.

“The AFP is definitely in a better condition now than in 2016,” Lorenzana said.

The Medal of Peace is awarded by the Indonesian government “to any person who has contributed and promoted peace and cooperation among the nations of the world.”

On Dec. 22, 2019, the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), then headed by Sobejana, rescued Maharudin Lunani, 48, and Samion Bin Maniue, 27, in Panamao, Sulu. They were two of the three fishermen who were abducted by the notorious ASG while fishing in Lahad Datu Island off Sabah waters on Sept. 22, 2019.

The third fisherman, 27-year-old Muhammad Farhan, was also rescued by the military in Brgy. Bato-Bato, Indanan, Sulu on January 15, 2020.