MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has conferred medals and monetary reward to the Philippine Marine troops behind the rescue of Indonesian kidnap victims and the killing of an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader in Tawi-Tawi, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) said Monday.
In a statement, the WestMinCom said AFP chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana handed over the reward in a ceremony held at the 2nd Marine Brigade headquarters in Barangay Sanga-Sanga, Bongao on Sunday.
Sobejana awarded the Distinguished Navy Cross to Colonel Nestor Narag, Jr. for the latter’s extraordinary achievement as the Deputy Commander of Joint Task Tawi-Tawi during the successful rescue of 4 Indonesian kidnap victims in Kalupag Island, Languyan, Tawi-Tawi on March 21, 2021.
The WestMinCom said Narag orchestrated a comprehensive Fleet-Marine operation and provided command and control to the operating sailors and marines who engaged the enemies, which resulted in the death of Abu Sayyaf Group leader Majan Sahidjuan alias Apo Mike, and two of his followers.
A Silver Cross Medal was awarded to the Special Intelligence Team under the 2nd Marine Brigade who provided timely intelligence information that led to the successful conduct of focused military and combat clearing operations in Kalupag Island, Languyan and Tandungan Island, Tandubas, all of Tawi-Tawi on March 19 to 24, 2021.
We have to make ourselves happy all the time so that we become more productive. I always translate happiness into productivity regardless of where we are,” Sobejana said.
“To the commanders, let us always strike a good balance on mission accomplishment and the morale and welfare of our soldiers,” he added.
Sobejana handed over the monetary reward amounting to P2 million intended for the units involved in the successful neutralization of Apo Mike.
WestMinCom Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Naval Forces Western Mindanao Commander Rear Admiral Toribio Adaci, Jr., Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi Commander Brig. Gen. Arturo Rojas, and other military officers were also present during the ceremony.