ZAMBOANGA CITY--The Philippine Navy bestowed Bronze Cross medals to gallant sailors and marines for the successful rescue of a kidnap victim from the hands of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu.
Rear Adm. Rene Medina, Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) commander, and Capt. Richard Gonzaga, the deputy for fleet operations, led the awarding ceremony during the Flag Raising Ceremony Monday at the Naval Station Romulo Espaldon in this city.
The awardees are the following: Col. Armel Tolato, Philippine Marine Ready Force-Sulu commander; Maj. Junnibert Tubo, Marine Battalion Landing Team-3 (MBLT-3) commander; UO2 Christofert Tiktik and UO2 Carmelito Pinote of the Naval Special Operations Unit-6; SSgt. Ramil Diman and Sgt. Gilbert Hernandez of the Naval Intelligence and Security Group-Western Mindanao; and, Cpl. Janrey Camano of MBLT-3.
Medina said the giving of awards and recognition to the troops is one of the military traditions in recognizing their exceptional deeds in the performance of duty and shared sacrifices, as well as persistent efforts.
“It is also one way to boost the morale of the soldiers,” Medina added.
The awardees were involved in the successful rescue of Jose Duterte on November 1 in Barangay Kandayok, Panamao, Sulu.
The rescue of Duterte, 63, came after the troops managed to zero in on the location of the Duterte, who owns a coconut farm.
Duterte and his wife, Jessica, 53, were seized by five Abu Sayyaf bandits in the evening of March 3, 2017 while they were resting in their residence near the shore in Barangay Sta. Maria, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte.
The Abu Sayyaf bandits freed Jessica on October 31, 2017 in Basilan province.
“This morning’s activity is a significant event as you join me to distinctly recognize the extreme service and hard work rendered by our comrades who successfully brought one of our kidnapped victims back to his family,” Medina said during the awarding ceremony.
He said NFWM will continue to deepen its commitment and dedication in the performance of its mandated task for a peaceful, safe and secured Western Mindanao.
Abu Sayyaf bandits are still holding captive nine hostages - a Dutch, a Vietnamese and seven Filipinos.