By direction of the President, pursuant to paragraph 1-6a, Section II, Chapter 1, AFP Regulations G131-053, General Headquarters, Armed Forces of the Philippines, dated 1 July 1986, the MEDAL FOR VALOR is hereby awarded to:
SECOND LIEUTENANT, 0-12640, PHILIPPINE ARMY
For acts of conspicuous courage, gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as the Squad Leader of a "Suicide Squad". Of the First Scout Ranger Battalion, First Scout Ranger Regiment, Special Operations Command, Philippine Army, during the 3-day assault of Hill 898, Camp Abdurrajak, Punoh Mihaji, Isabela, Basilan on 28 to 30 April 2000.
With the commencement of the 103rd Brigade's OPLAN "FINAL OPTION", the First Scout Ranger Battalion was directed to attack the highly fortified enemy positions being occupied by more or less 210 fully armed members of the Abu Sayyaf Group who were then holding in captivity 28 civilian hostages. The 11th Scout Ranger Company spearheaded the attack with the team under SECOND LIEUTENANT DILAG, taking the lead. After a grueling trek along the 7-kilometer highly restrictive terrain and after bypassing 48 enemy improvised landmines, the troops were able to close-in on the northeastern portion of the enemy camp.
On 280930 April 2000, the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion began the assault and a heavy firefight ensued. Though initially surprised the enemy was able to take advantage of its commanding position and confronted the government forces with stiff resistance. At 1630H, the enemy counterattacked in full force, killing 4 Scout Rangers and wounding 27 others. In spite of the numerous casualties and heavy enemy volume of fires coming from cal. 50 Machineguns, 57RRs and the continuous explosion of grenades and dynamites near their positions, the leading elements under SECOND LIEUTENANT DILAG, fearlessly retaliated with accurate sniper fires which prevented the enemy from closing-in.
Notwithstanding the heavy rains, hunger, tension and fatigue; and despite of numerous casualties, the Scout Rangers held on their ground and engaged the enemy with strong determination and ferocity for the next 24 hours. On 300530 April 2000, after sensing the seemingly insurmountable odds, MAJOR CALDEO, the Commanding Officer of the 1st scout Ranger Battalion, decided to execute the final assault with the organization of 2 "Suicide Squads". The squad, consisting of 14 volunteers, were tasked to perform an extremely risky mission of clearing the northeastern bunkers.
Uncertain of what will happen to them, the members of the squad, left their valuables to their supporting comrades to be further given to their loved ones, in anticipation of their deaths. Undaunted by threat posed by the situation and unmindful of their own safety, the squads, headed by SECOND LIEUTENANT DILAG and SECOND LIEUTENANT GONZALES rushed-up the 80-meter, 80-degree slope and eventually assaulted the heavily fortified enemy defensive positions then carried out an intense bunker to bunker battle.
With cunning stealth, the "Suicide Squads" were able to secure the northeastern tip of Hill 898 which was being defended by Khadafy Janjaland's group. This heroic and gallant act paved the way for the subsequent clearing of the remaining 3 clusters of enemy fortified defensive positions. After 4 hours of close combat, the squads forced the enemy to withdraw towards the western direction.
(Reference: GENERAL ORDERS NUMBER 768, dated 4 July 2000, General Headquarters, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City)
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