BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The top Armed Forces commander in the Visayas islands has awarded the Gold and Silver Crosses, two of the highest military awards for gallantry in action, to 66 soldiers fighting Communist insurgents in Negros and Bohol islands as the Army continues to rack up battlefield wins against a waning rebellion that has dragged on for more than half a century.
Lieutenant General Benedict Arevalo, commander of the Armed Forces’ Visayas Command led the awarding of the medals to troopers of the 302nd and 303rd Brigades, the two maneuver units of the Third Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Negros island.
Third Division commander, Major General Marion Sison, thanked Arevalo for the recognition given to Third Division soldiers.
Arevalo started his career as a young lieutenant in Negros island and went on to head the Third Division before his VisCom post.
Sison called the awards given by Arevalo as a “testament to your unwavering commitment to fostering peace and progress in Western and Central Visayas.”
Sison added Arevalo’s “selfless dedication and gallantry radiate through these honors, which also serve as a source of inspiration for all of us, reminding us of our solemn oath to serve and defend the people, always.
Separate dispatches from the Third ID and the 303rd said among the Gold Cross recipients were five officers – two each from the 94th and 47th Battalions – and one from the 62nd Battalion.
A total of 46 awardees of Gold Cross and Silver Cross medals were under the 302nd Brigade.
They are made up of six officers, 38 enlisted personnel and two militiamen.
Those from the 303rd Brigade, on the otger hand, totalled to 20 officers and enlisted men.
The 62nd and 94th under the 303rd Brigade are based in Negros island while the 47th under the 302nd Brigade is deployed to Bohol island.
Both islands are under the Communist Party’s unified Negros, Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor Regional Party Committee.