A soldier and militiaman who escaped from their NPA captors received the Order of Lapu-Lapu award for their bravery.
Cpl. Johannes D. Parreño and CAA Dindo Sagayno received the award from President Rodrigo Duterte during the 12th Founding Anniversary of Eastern Mindanao Command held at Naval Felix Apolinario Station in Camp Panacan.
The Lapu-Lapu Medal is awarded to officials and personnel of the government and private individuals who have contributed significantly to the success of an activity pursuant to a campaign or advocacy of the President.
The two were among the 14 military officers and personnel who were given award during the anniversary. The local chief executives of Davao City, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, and Socsksargen also an award for their support for the anti-insurgency campaign.
President Duterte was the guest of honor and speaker in the activity last Aug. 23.
Meanwhile, during the same event, 12 rebel returnees were presented to the President.
He promised to allow them to travel to China or Hong Kong.
“You see for yourselves what is Communism,” he said.
Duterte also asked the rebel returnees to persuade their comrades into surrendering.
During the anniversary, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., commander of the Eastern Mindanao, presented the accomplishment of the command.
“In aiming to maintain peace and order in the communities, the command conducted 124,918 combat operations,” Madrigal said, adding that they recovered 1,141 total firearms and 417 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from the operations.
“The command was able to dismantle and downgraded 10 NPA guerrilla fronts in its area of responsibility,” he added.
The command recorded 9,355 surrenders from former NPA fighters, supporters, and regular members.