42 soldiers receive combat medals

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          Forty-two soldiers of the 94th Infantry Battalion were conferred Military Merit Medals in recognition for their bravery, by Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 3rd Infantry Division commander, during his visit to Ayungon, Negros Oriental, Oct. 6.

          The 42 Army soldiers figured in two armed clashes with the New People’s Army rebels on Oct. 1 in barangays Carabalan and Buenavista, all in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, that led to the seizure of a rebel temporary camp, and the recovery of M16 and M14 rifles, among other war materials.

PNP chief, Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, inspects the high-powered firearms purchased and donated by various local government units to the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office. | Capitol PIO photo

          A minor, who was with the group of rebels encountered by soldiers, later surrendered to the 94th IB, Arevalo said.

          The awardees were composed of two Army officers, 38 enlisted personnel, and two CAFGU members.

          Arevalo said the awardees deserved to be recognized for their efforts and sacrifices, especially in combat.

          He also slammed the NPA for its continued recruitment of minors, as child warriors.

          The Apolinario Gatmaitan Command, meanwhile, issued a statement and strongly denied allegations that the NPA in Negros Island is exploiting minors as child warriors.

Rebel spokesman, Ka Juanito Magbanua, claimed that alias “RR”, who reportedly surrendered to the 94th Infantry Battalion, does not exist in any NPA unit in Negros Island, and dismissed as “false” allegations that they recruited 10 minors. — GB