Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City—Despite its simplified 78th Anniversary Celebration, the Armed Forces of the Philippines honoured its soldiers and civilian employees in recognition of their invaluable contributions to the fulfilment of the military’s mandate.

Forty-nine soldiers, two civilian employees, and two ROTC cadets were awarded in today’s anniversary celebration for their roles in the successful defense of Zamboanga City, humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations during Bohol earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda; and other combat operations and non-traditional missions.

 

The awarding ceremony primarily featured Medal of Valor awardee, PFC Ian O Paquit of the 3rd Scout Ranger Company, 1st Scout Ranger Regiment, cited for his courage, dedication and sacrifice that greatly contributed to the clearing and capture of enemy positions in Zamboanga City. 

His act of conspicuous courage, gallantry, and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in Barangay Sta Barbara on September 24, even after being wounded and hospitalized in an encounter on September 13, earned him the posthumous award. 

Because of his selfless acts of heroism, a bullet pierced his left neck resulting to his death. The operations resulted to the capture of 41 MNLF fighters and 15 enemies killed. By this display of heroism, PFC Paquit distinguished himself in combat, in keeping with the finest traditions of Filipino soldiery. His award was received by his father, Eduardo Paquit.

Thirteen soldiers were also awarded with the Distinguished Conduct Star, the second highest military award, for their conspicuous acts of gallantry; while nine other soldiers, two of them posthumously, received the Gold Cross Medal. They are among today’s 34 soldiers awarded for their role in the successful defense of Zamboanga City, and are among the over 2,000 soldiers already awarded in line with their contributions in the operations in Zamboanga City. Other awards are in the pipeline to ensure that all soldiers involved, either in combat or administrative capacity, will be recognized.

Also, up to 115 soldiers and seven civilians were awarded yesterday, December 19, led by Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, who received the AFP Command Plaque during the AFP Thanksgiving Day ceremony held at the GHQ Canopy Area. 

PNoy inspects three AgustaWestland helicopters

A simultaneous flag-raising ceremony was held today to kickstart the 78th Anniversary Program attended by AFP Commander in Chief and President Benigno S Aquino III. 

Among the many highlights of today’s rites was the inspection of three newly acquired AgustaWestland 109 Power Helicopters of the Philippine Navy. These will be used in various naval operations including economic zone protection, surface surveillance, search and rescue and maritime security operations. 

Costing a total of P1.35-billion, the new AW-109 helicopters are ready to be equipped for territorial defense missions in preparation for future external defense functions of the AFP. Two more of these aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2014 for a contract price of P850.91-million.

President Aquino inspected the three helicopters, along with two new Sikorsky Air Ambulance units, and other assets on display at the AFP Grandstand.