10 outstanding soldiers cited
An Army colonel who led his troops in breaking the Moro rebel siege on Zamboanga City in September 2013 heads the list of Metrobank’s Ten Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS).
In a ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo, Col. Danilo Pamonag, commander of the Army’s Light Reaction Regiment, was hailed for a counter-strike that ended the siege of several barangays (villages) by rebels belonging to a Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction under Nur Misuari.
More than 200 MNLF fighters, soldiers and civilians died in the three-week siege.
“As the commander of the AFP’s counterterrorism unit, he was able to successfully guide and motivate his men to accomplish their mission of rescuing more than 160 hostages, capturing more than 160 MNLF fighters and recovering high-powered firearms without leaving any of his men behind,” the citation for Pamonag said.
Metrobank Foundation also cited Pamonag’s peace advocacy and his building of a strong relationship between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and foreign militaries.
Pamonag also served as a sector commander in the United Nations mission in Iraq. He was cited for going “out of his way despite risks to conduct dialogues with the locals which helped promote peace in the area.”
T/Sgt. Romel Bancairin of the Intelligence Service of the AFP (Isafp) was also recognized for his role in the Zamboanga siege. During the siege, he proposed to cut off the water supply to areas occupied by MNLF forces.
Also cited were M/Sgt. Ariel Cariaga for developing an electronic geographic counterinsurgency tool and M/Sgt. Ferdinand Lascano for advocating “paper-less” communication. Both are with the Isafp.–Cynthia D. Balana
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