THE Fighting Soldiers of Marawi City led recipients of the Medal of Valor 2017 during the 34th anniversary of the martyrdom of former sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. on Monday.
The others are Carmen “Chit” Pedrosa, Fr. Ben Beltran SVD, Robert “Obet” Verzola, and Leoncio Evasco Jr. 1st Lt. Cristopher A. Montecillo and Sgt. Edgardo G. Diaz Jr. represented the Fighting Soldiers.
Organizers of the Ninoy Aquino Movement (NAM) said the 2017 awardees were cited for their commitment to the legacy of truth, justice, freedom, peace and democracy.
The Medal of Valor, according to NAM, recognizes the sacrifice of victims of torture and persecution of the dictatorship in jail or in exile as conscientious objectors to the fake rationale of Martial Law by President Ferdinand Marcos.
The program at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) included a mass in memoriam and salute to the soldiers in Marawi where they have been fighting the IS-inspired Maute terrorist group since May 23 when it attacked the city in a bid to establish a base for an independent state in Mindanao. President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire region under martial law to quell the “rebellion”. Congress approved Duterte’s request for an extension of the declaration until yearend.
There was also a wreath-laying ceremony at the Ninoy Aquino granite marker at the NAIA Departure Curve.
Those who attended were former sen. Jose “Joey” Lina, Earthsavers Unesco Artists for Peace, former sen. Heherson Alvarez, who is also founding chairman of NAM; August Twenty One Movement (ATOM) president Reli German, and Octavio Lina, MIAA assistant general manager for operation.
Sen. Aquino was assassinated on the tarmac of NAIA, then the Manila International Airport (MIA) on Aug. 21, 1983, three years after he left the country to undergo heart surgery in the US.
A political archnemesis, Aquino was incarcerated for seven years by Marcos before he was released to go to the US. His death proved to be a catalyst that would lead to a popular and bloodless revolt in 1986 which, ironically, would catapult his widow, Corazon, to the presidency and end the 20-year Marcos dictatorship. BENJIE L. VERGARA