By Glazyl Masculino
BACOLOD CITY – The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID) said it neutralized 13 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Western and Central Visayas in the fourth quarter of this year.
This claim is based on 11 engagements of the Army, which included the recent clashes in Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City on November 8, and in Barangay Yao-Yao, Cauayan town on November 7, both in Negros Occidental.
The anti-insurgency efforts of the 3ID also resulted in the seizure of 21 high-powered and two low-powered firearms.
The Visayas Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) recognized the gallantry of 49 soldiers from the 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) in Negros Island, which paved the way in advancing the Negrenses’ fervent desire for an insurgency-free island.
Lieutenant General Benedict Arevalo, AFP VISCOM commander, conferred 13 Gold Cross Medals, 13 Silver Cross Medals, 14 Military Merit Medals with Bronze Spearhead Device, five Gawad sa Kaunlaran, and five Parangal sa Kapanalig ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas Medal, and ribbon to soldiers of the 303rd IBde, and Infantry Battalions (IB) under the brigade – 79th, 94th, and 15th, during his visit at Camp Nelson Gerona, Barangay Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental last Wednesday.
Among the recipients were nine from the 303rd IBde, consisting of five officers and four enlisted personnel; 16 from the 79th IB with five officers and 11 enlisted personnel; and 15 from the 94th IB with four officers and 11 enlisted personnel. Nine others from the 15th IB with three officers and six enlisted personnel were also awarded the same awards.
In his message, Arevalo commended the deserving awardees for their unwavering efforts to end the decades-long insurgency in Negros Island.
Arevalo said that their accomplishment is not only due to the efforts of the different Divisions and Joint Task Forces in the Visayas but all Brigades in Negros are being highlighted for the most number of successful encounters in Visayas Command and the whole AFP as well.
“Allow me also to congratulate the battalion commanders, who became your mentors, coaches, and managers, who guided and supervised your team, which led to notable accomplishments,” Arevalo said.
“Likewise, we do not fail to recognize the efforts of those people who untiringly support you in your operations, and your loved ones for their continuous prayers for your safety and protection,” he added.