Sergeant Pacquiao gets Legion of Honor
- James Mananghaya () - December 23, 2008 - 12:00am

For bringing honor to the country in the field of sports, Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao was among yesterday’s top awardees during the 73rd anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at Camp Aguinaldo.

Clad in military dress uniform, Pacquiao, who holds the rank of master sergeant in the Army reserve force, was conferred the Philippine Legion of Honor with the rank of Officer by President Arroyo.

“For winning four world titles in different weight divisions and for being the best fighter in the world in his time, the Philippine Legion of Honor with the rank of Officer is awarded to Master Sgt. Emmanuel Pacquiao, Philippine Army reserve,” the citation read.

Pacquiao, a friend of AFP chief Gen. Alexander Yano, flew to Manila from his hometown of General Santos City to attend the awarding ceremony. He was greeted by senior military officers, foreign dignitaries and wounded soldiers from V. Luna Hospital, who were also present during the affair.

Pacquiao’s latest conquest was the Dec. 6 bout with Mexican Oscar “Golden Boy” de la Hoya in Las Vegas.

The same award Pacquiao received was conferred on AFP deputy chief Lt. Gen. Rodrigo Maclang, who, as chief of the military’s Northern Luzon Command, was responsible for the dismantling of seven communist New People’s Army guerilla fronts and the neutralization of 150 rebel personalities in his area of responsibility.

AFP vice chief Lt. Gen. Cardozo Luna was conferred the Philippine Legion of Honor with rank of Commander for heading Joint Task Force Mindanao at the height of pursuit operations against Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels who pillaged communities in North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte.

Brig. Gen. Rommel Gomez, chief of the army’s 703rd Infantry Brigade who was instrumental in the dismantling of five NPA guerilla fronts in Central Luzon, was awarded the Distinguished Service Star (DSS).

The same award was given to Capt. Edgar Abogado, chief of the Naval Task Force 21, for the apprehension of 77 watercraft used to transport smuggled goods and seven ships used by poachers.

Col. Richard Siga-an of the Air Force 505th Search and Rescue group was given the DSS for assisting 39 victims of lahar flows in Bacolor, Pampanga during the onslaught of typhoon “Dodong”.

Manila Bulletin publisher Don Emilio Yap was also conferred the Philippine Legion of Honor with the First Anahaw Leaf for his contributions to the scholarship fund for dependents of soldiers killed in battle.

Army Lt. Kenneth Gutleng, who was slain in an encounter with MILF rebels in Datu Piang, Maguindanao last Sept. 29, was posthumously awarded the Gold Cross Medal for gallantry in action. Marine Sgt. Ricky Villar of the Marine force recon battalion was also given the GCM for gallantry during an encounter with joint Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah members in Sulu.

The Outstanding Achievement Medal was awarded to Lt. Col. Rizaldo Limoso, chief of the AFP Educational Benefits System, and Technical Sgt. Hercules Regis, who wrote a children’s book of poems.

The Distinguished Aviation Cross was awarded to Lt. Jonathan Ibañez, a combat pilot who conducted air strikes against the MILF rebels at the height of operations a few months ago.

Lt. Victor Ramos, chief of the Navy seal team that conducted search and rescue operations for trapped miners in Itogon, Benguet recently, was awarded the Bronze Cross Medal.

Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit militiaman Nonito Cabarles, who single-handedly repelled about 100 NPA rebels who were planning to abduct him and a retired soldier in San Jorge, Samar, was awarded the Kagitingan sa Barangay Award with the rank of Datu.

Technical Sgt. Antonio Domingo was named AFP Enlisted Personnel of the Year, while Drs. Luz Quintana and Marie Antonnette Castanos were awarded AFP Civilian Supervisor and Employee, respectively.

Cadet Majors Farvy de la Cruz and Josephil Nestor were hailed as AFP ROTC cadets of the year.

The AFP also honored Metrobank Foundation and Mindanao Tulong Bakwet as AFP Civil Military Operations Non-Government Organizations Awardees.

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