ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Philippine Army awarded medals to nine soldiers who took part in defending Zamboanga City against separatist rebels in September, a spokesman said Tuesday.
Captain Jefferson Somera of the 1st Infantry Division said the soldiers who displayed gallantry during the three-week violence that left more than 400 dead and wounded received Gold Cross, Bronze Cross and Wounded Personnel medals during a simple ceremony at the army headquarters in Labangan town in Zamboanga del Sur.
He said the Gold Cross, which is the third highest medal for gallantry in com- bat, was given to First Lieutenant Robert Martin Dima- ilig, Sergeant George Neri, Corporals Sajack Alam and Ra- mil Castillon.
Technical Sergeant Eduardo Abog, Staff Sergeant Thuaheron Pangulima, Sergeants Kashir Hussin and Manuel Suarez Jr. got Bronze Cross medals while the Wounded Personnel Medal was given to Sergeant Freddie Centenales.
The medals were awarded by Brigadier General Felicito Virgilio Trinidad Jr., the commander of 1st Infantry Division.
“The heroism and gallantry displayed by these soldiers during the Zamboanga City siege have been seen and known far beyond the four corners of our Command. Their deeds speak the nature of a fine Tabak trooper-brave, professional and always ready to serve our countrymen. We should always carry these principles in all our under- takings, for our Command, for our family and for every Filipino people,” Somera quoted Trinidad as saying durin the ceremony.
Troops liberated Zamboanga City from hundreds of Moro National Liberation Front rebels who simultaneously attack several villages.
Meanwhile, two people died and 11 were wounded in a grenade attack on Monday night at a coastal village in Zamboanga City.
Police chief Senior Superintendent Dennis Basngi said the attack happened in the house of Diosterides Lib-rado, the village chieftain of Ayala. Most of the victims were candidates running for the special village elections this month.
“The victims were having a meeting with their leaders and supporters when the attack occurred,” Chief Inspector Ariel Huesca, a regional pol- ice spokesman.
Citing an initial police report, Huesca said the attack was carried out by two motorcycle men.
The village secretary and a councilman were killed instantly in the blast while the wounded, including Librado, were rushed to the hospital.
Police are still investigating whether the incident was politically motivated or not. No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the grenade attack.
Huesca said policemen were deployed to hunt down the assailants.