The Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) has awarded the Military Merit Medal to soldiers and military working dogs of the 15th Infantry Battalion (15IB), who were part of the successful operations against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Candoni, Negros Occidental in May.
Lt. Col. Michael Cuarteros, commanding officer of the 15IB, said on Saturday the recognition boosts the morale of the troops.
“They will strive to give their best for the Negrenses and to the government’s commitment to achieve just peace and prosperity,” he added in a statement.
The medals were bestowed by Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 3ID, to two officers and 38 enlisted personnel as well as to two K9 Unit members, “Orly” and “Otep”, in rites held on Friday at the 15IB headquarters in Barangay Tiling, Cauayan town.
“May this award motivate and inspire other Spearhead troopers to do their best and exert more effort in promoting peace not only (on) Negros Island but also in other areas of Western and Central Visayas,” Arevalo said.
He told the troops to always remember that once in their life as a soldier, they were involved in an encounter that led to a mission accomplished.
During the operations, the soldiers deployed the military working dogs to track the direction of withdrawing communist rebels.
On May 3, the soldiers engaged NPA rebels in a 15-minute battle in Sitio Tigmaya, Barangay Gatuslao in Candoni town that resulted in the death of a teenage fighter.
The fatality, 16-year-old alias “Kisap” and “Boyca”, served as a squad medical officer of the NPA’s South West Front.
Arevalo then condemned the CPP-NPA for recruiting a child combatant in a senseless armed struggle, saying such an act is a clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law.
The 15IB operates in the southern part of Negros, mainly in the sixth district of Negros Occidental.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The NDF has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973.
Source: Philippines News Agency