President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, January 13, recognized the gallantry of the members of the Philippine Marines who fought ISIS-linked Islamists in Marawi City in 2017 by conferring them the Order of Lapu-Lapu.
Eight officers of the Philippine Marines received the Order of Lapu-Lapu Kampilan medal while 132 enlisted personnel were conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu Kamagi medal.
The Philippine Marines officers and enlisted personnel showed gallantry and dedication to service during the all-out offensive against the enemies and successfully regained the Mapandi, Banggolo and Masiu bridges and also recovered more than P80 million.
It took the government several months before liberating the city from the control of the extremists.
“Our nation is forever grateful to the brave men and women of our Marine corps who went above and beyond the call of duty to fight terrorism and insurgency and secure our sovereignty,” President Duterte said during the conferment rites held at the headquarters of the Philippine Marine Corps in Taguig City.
“I hope that with this honor, all of you will be inspired to continue to embody strength, fortitude and resilience in ensuring lasting peace in our homeland. Once again, I salute you.”
The Order of Lapu-Lapu, by virtue of Executive Order No. 17, is “awarded to officials and personnel of the government, as well as private individuals, in recognition of their invaluable service in relation to a campaign or advocacy of the President.”
The award is comprised of four medals: Magalong Medal, Kalasag Medal, Kampilan Medal, and Kamagi Medal.
The Kampilan Medal is awarded to those who were seriously wounded or suffered great loss of property as a direct result of their participation in an activity pursuant to a campaign or advocacy of the President.
The Kamagi Medal, on the other hand, is awarded to those who actively participated in and contributed significantly to an activity pursuant to a campaign or advocacy of the President.
The President also acknowledged the Philippine Marine Corps for its invaluable contributions and accomplishments in the areas of internal security operations, maritime security patrol and interdiction, as well as its strong support to law enforcement efforts.
The commander-in-chief urged the Marine Corps to continue working with the administration in the promotion of peace and order, as well as in humanitarian and disaster response in times of natural and man-made disasters.
President Duterte assured the members of the corps that his administration will remain committed to the modernization, capacity building and other meritorious initiatives of the Armed forces to boost soldiers’ morale, efficiency, and responsiveness.
The government, the President said, has been fast tracking since 2018 the acquisition of vessels, aircraft, trucks, drones and other equipment as part of the more than P283 billion worth of projects under the Second Horizon of the Revised AFP Modernization Program.
“We hope that by 2021, we would have capacitated the Philippine Marine Corps with the light armor systems upgrade, squad rocket launchers and force protection equipment in order to keep our forces at par with their foreign counterparts,” he said.
Also during the event, the Chief Executive handed over to the Marines’ Operating Units pistols and sniper rifles as well as 5W VHF hand-held radios and repeater systems.
“It is my hope that, through this advanced weaponry, you may efficiently protect our democratic institutions and uphold the rule of law,” he said. “Together, let us safeguard our communities in pursuit of a more peaceful and secure nation.”