GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Twelve police personnel in Region 12 or Soccksargen were awarded the Medalya ng Kagalingan (Medal of Merit) on Monday, over the capture last month of a hideout and marijuana plantation operated by New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Sarangani province.
Col. Oliver Enmodias, deputy regional director for operations of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-12, said the medals were conferred to members of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB-12) who led the "successful operation" last March 17 in Sitio Tabutong of Barangay Nalus, Kiamba town in Sarangani.
Enmodias said the awardees were Lt. Nixon Torren Budikey and Patrolmen Joeffrey Dela Peña, Raffy Frugalidad, Joffrey Apalla, Roly Caburnay, Michael Santillana, Elvin Unggay, Erin Monarca, John Rey Absalon Galochino, Jessie Ingking Wison, Prugie Rafanan, and Gilbert Mariano.
"This is in recognition of the meritorious acts that they displayed during the conduct of a major internal security operation," Enmodias said at the awarding rites during the regular flag-raising ceremony at the regional headquarters here.
The ceremony was graced by Department of the Interior and Local Government-12 regional director Josephine Leysa.
Enmodias said the awarding of the merit medals was based on an order issued by PRO-12 regional director Brig. Gen. Eliseo Tam Rasco.
The Philippine National Police bestows the Medalya ng Kagalingan "for a single act of heroism or a series of heroic acts in a duty responsibility not warranting the award of Medalya ng Kadakilaan (Heroism Medal).”
He said the RMFB-12 team managed to locate the NPA hideout and marijuana plantation despite the difficult terrain and security risks due to the presence of the rebels in the area.
During the operation, the team clashed with an undetermined number of NPA rebels reportedly led by Gorio Navarro alias “Kumander Gorio/Toto”.
The operating team recovered at the site a .30 caliber rifle, two .38 caliber pistols with six bullets, a bandolier with eight magazines containing 81 .30 caliber bullets, four storage containers with rice and kitchen utensils, subversive documents and an NPA flag.
They later found a nearby marijuana plantation that was reportedly maintained by the NPA rebels.