Saturday, November 26, 2011

Modern Heroes Cited by the Army

FOR VALOR. Army Chief Emmanuel Bautista awards the Command Plaque to Sgt Ramon Sabellina Jr who was adjudged as the Best Enlisted Personnel of the year, during the 61st Founding Anniversary of the elite First Scout Ranger Regiment yesterday, Nov 25. Sabellina was also recommended to receive the Medal For Valor due to his exceptional display of courage and outstanding leadership in a fierce encounter with more or less 30 heavily-armed rebels in Cateel town, Davao Oriental in August 2011 (Photo by Major Harold M Cabunoc)

FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City----The brave Scout Rangers, the new modern heroes, were cited by the Army during the commemoration of the 61st Founding Anniversary of the First Scout Ranger Regiment yesterday, Nov 25.
Army Chief Major General Emmanuel Bautista personally granted the various awards given to the deserving troops and units during the commemoration ceremonies held at Camp Tecson in San Miguel town, Bulacan at around 10:00am.
Among the awardees was Staff Sergeant Ramon Sabellina Jr of the 4th Scout Ranger Company. He was adjudged as the Best Enlisted Personel of the year.
Sabellina was recommended for the award of the Medal for Valor for displaying his exemplary acts of courage and indomitable spirit in a fierce encounter with 30 fully armed rebels in Cateel town in Davao Oriental on August 12, 2011.
The encounter resulted to the numerous casualties on the enemy side and the recovery of 15 high-powered firearms.
In this classic encounter, Sabellina was also praised for respecting the rights of the captured bandits. Video grab from a local TV network in Davao showed that the Scout Rangers treated the three wounded rebels including a female fighters Lyka Navarro and Michelle Duque.
Seeing the humane treatment of the captured rebels, 15 more rebels surrendered to the Army the following day. It led to the dismantling of the local CPP-NPA-NDF armed group in that province.
The 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion where Sabellina belongs, received the Best Scout Ranger Battalion award.
 Secretary Voltaire Gazmin who also came to grace the occasion was all smiles when the battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Kiram Azgar Grajo received the command plaque and streamer as Scout Ranger Commander Colonel Abraham Bagasin looked on. Gazmin used to command this unit during his younger days.
In his speech, Bautista thanked the Scout Rangers for their heroism. He also reminded the ‘musangs’ (moniker of the Scout Rangers) about their roles in the new AFP campaign Bayanihan which he crafted in 2010.
 “While we sustain our efforts in winning the peace, we will continue to hunt down those who insist to follow the wrong path by disturbing the lives of our peace-loving citizens in their communities. This is where your services as protectors are needed,” said Bautista.
Scout Rangers, heroes in Al-Barka

The survivors of the latest Al-Barka incident also praised the conspicuous courage and self-sacrifice made by a Scout Ranger and sniper, Corporal Roberto Ricafranca.
Seeing that they were surrounded by an advancing enemy force numbering more than a hundred, Ricafranca directed his companions to retreat towards safer areas with the other wounded including his cousin, Pfc Alex Ricafranca.
 Interviewed while recuperating in the AFP Medical Center, he was  teary-eyed while recalling the heroism of his cousin.

"We were overwhelmed by the enemy's counterattack from all directions. Roberto (Corporal Ricafranca), a topgun in his Scout Sniper class, opted to remain and provided covering fires as we gradually inch our way towards the rear," said Alex.
He also mentioned the bravery of another Scout Ranger, Pfc Jordan Magno, who continuously returned to the most forward positions to collect the casualties.
“Jordan was not wounded the last time I saw him. He kept on returning to the encounter site amidst the volley of fires to save the remaining comrades. He lived up to the Ranger motto: ‘Walang iwanan(leave no one behind),” he said, tears welling in his eyes.
Army Chief Major General Emmanuel "Manny" Bautista attaches the Best Company Streamer award to the colors of the 4th Scout Ranger Company during the awarding rites held at Camp Tecson, San Miguel town in Bulacan at 10:00am yesterday. (Photo by Sgt Cesar Cuenca)

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