Some 16 troopers of the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) were awarded the Military Merit Medal on Friday for their gallantry and heroic acts during a clash with Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels in Manapla, Negros Occidental last September 30.
The medals were bestowed by Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, together with Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Murcia town, in rites at the battalion headquarters in Barangay Bato, Sagay City.
“We, in the higher headquarters, do not let your meritorious achievements go unnoticed. We will continue doing this because I believe that people who are appreciated will perform better than expected. I hope this will encourage everyone to perform better and faster,” Arevalo said.
The encounter in Hacienda Builder, Barangay San Pablo on Thursday morning claimed the lives of four CPP-NPA rebels, including Marilyn “Monet” Badayos, finance officer of the Northern Negros Front (NNF) and former secretary of the South East Front; Ronilo “Wowie” Desabille, propaganda and education officer; Rody “Brod” Carbajosa, finance and logistics officer of Sentro de Grabidad Platoon; and Rufino “Simo” Bocaval, taxation and finance committee member.
Considered as remnants of the already dismantled NNF, the slain rebels were identified by Arevalo as the “brains” of the extortion activities that targeted big companies, construction firms, and private individuals in northern Negros for years.
Lt. Col. J-jay Javines, commander of the 79IB, thanked Arevalo for recognizing the efforts of his men.
“This will surely serve as an inspiration for us to strive more, not only to win peace but to pave the way for new opportunities to the Negrenses,” he added.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.