Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS) 2011

Philippine Army Commissioned Officer Category

Colonel Daniel A. Lucero
103rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division,
Kampo Ranao, Lanao del Sur.

A military man has long been seen as stoic and content to let his actions speak for him, but what differentiates a man who has been appointed to speak for his peers? This was a challenge faced by Col. Daniel A. Lucero, who was appointed as spokesperson of Southern Command in Zamboanga City in 2002, and as Chief of the Public Information Office of the AFP and concurrent Spokesperson in 2003.

His 24/7 availability to the media, along with his skillful handling, allowed him to effectively respond to the negative feedback thrown against the AFP during his assignment as Spokesperson. As Commander of the 18th Infantry Battalion stationed in Basilan, his group received the Commanding General-Philippine Army Streamer Award for 2001.

The success of the Balikatan Exercises became a model for the Americans who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, and resulted in relative peace in Basilan from 2001 to 2006. He graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1983, holds Masters Degrees from the University of the Philippines, and obtained a degree in International Relations from the Australian National University. Col. Daniel A. Lucero is married with one child.

Enlisted Personnel Category

Master Sergeant Sixto P. Navarrosa
Chief Clerk
Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations, G-7,
Philippine Army, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City

A young man with a high school education joins the Army to find a better life for himself and finds the hero within. It’s a classic story, but a true one in the case of MSgt Sixto P. Navarrosa, who has spent 23 years in the AFP and has emerged as one of the Philippine Army’s most notable men.

Rescue has become a specialty for him after 1997, starting with his leadership of the Rescue Team of the 18th Special Forces of the Army’s Special Operations Command in conducting fire-fighting and rescue operations in Makati.

He is also one of the organizers and coordinators of 2001’s Operation LIGAYA, which improved relations between the AFP and the areas Christian and Muslim residents, in addition to benefitting 1,755 residents through medical and dental outreach programs. For all of these external activities, he has also become a valued adviser, mentor, coach, and counselor to his subordinates. MSgt Navarrosa is married with two children.

Chief Master Sergeant Billy C. Benebile
Command Sergeant Major
Civil Operations Group, Philippine Army, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City

Chief Master Sergeant Billy Benebile’s career is proof that information can be just as effective a tool for fighting for ones country as taking up arms. The official term is psychological operations, and under his command, it has become as much a vehicle to help as it is a part of the battle for the nation’s soul.

Known as one of the Philippine Army’s Civil Military Operations Group’s (CMOG) most able leaders, he has supervised the creation and distribution of leaflets, posters, brochures, and many types of cyber propaganda in the name of combating the country’s enemies through persuasion, exposure, influence, and knowledge. In addition, CMOG has also retained a regular schedule of medical and dental civic action programs, security assistance, and humanitarian assistance drives.

For all his actions, he has been justly acclaimed by his peers and was awarded the Visayas Command AFP Enlisted Man of the Year for 1992. CMSgt Billy Benabile was born in Zaragoza, Balasan, Iloilo, and is married with three children.

Philippine Navy

Commissioned Officer Category
Colonel Alexander F. Balutan
Brigade Commander
1st Marine Brigade, Lebak, Sultan Kudarat

As a brigade commander, Col. Alexander F. Balutan was instrumental in having political leaders in Lanao and Marawi City committed to a peace covenant days before the elections.

As Major, he took down the third-largest MILF camp, neutralizing 300 MILF bunkers and felling Camp Belal, and, as Commanding Officer, he conducted 6 major ground operations, resulting in the neutralization of seven, apprehension of 19 MILF, and the recovery of four kidnap-for-ransom victims.

Also much admired as a mentor, he supervised the creation of a Student Regulation Manual for the Military Training Group and organized the conduct of marksmanship training and crowd control training, among others. Col. Alexander Balutan graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1983, holds a Masters Degree from Manuel L. Quezon University, and is married with six children.

Enlisted Personnel Category

TSgt. Rommel V. Carbon
Assistant Operations Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO)
Intelligence Service AFP, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City

Life as an operations soldier is never as glamorous as the movies make it sound: taking up arms against the country’s enemies is an exceedingly difficult prospect that the men and women of the Armed Forces take on with a great sense of purpose.

After graduating from Notre Dame University at 22, TSgt Carbon decided to join the Philippine Marine Corps and, within five years, was already a distinguished member of the 10th Marine Company. In possibly the most notable encounter of his career, he was involved in a successful campaign to root out the whereabouts of the Abu Sayyaf group hiding in Zamboanga, which led to the death of notorious ASG leader Abu Sabaya.

TSgt Carbon has also proven to be effective when it comes to putting his experience to work to help his fellow servicemen by formulating several field operations manuals for the AFP. In addition to this, he has distinguished himself with his work formulating the AFP Source Control System. TSgt Rommel V. Carbon is married with three children.

Data Processor 3 Jairus M. Cenabre
Field Agent
Naval Intelligence and Security Group
National Capital Region
National Intelligence and Security Force, JFNS

If knowledge is truly power, then there are few enlisted men as powerful as DP3 Jairus Cenabre, one of the extraordinary standouts of the Naval Intelligence and Security Group (NISG), and a 14-year veteran of the Navy. He has truly made a mark on the matter of policing the country’s resources by tracking down a civilian believed to have created homemade explosives, uncovering an illegal fishing operation at Manila Bay, and busting a Korean national for housing a warehouse of illegal explosive agents, among others.

For this, he emerged as NISG-NCR Field Agent of the Month for eight consecutive months. To this day, he maintains 23 assets and informants in the name of protecting our peace and the country’s resources. DP3 Jairus Cenabre hails from Cebu City, graduated with a degree in Computer Science from the University of San Jose-Recoletos, and is married with two children.

Philippine Air Force Commissioned Officer Category

Colonel Raul del Rosario
Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Intelligence
Office of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Intelligence, Philippine Air Force HQ, Pasay City

He is an officer and a gentleman, both in land and air, and a hero to the people he serves and the people who serve under him. As the outstanding Commissioned Officer of the Philippine Air Force, Col. Raul del Rosario earned a Bachelor of Science from the Philippine Military Academy in 1984, and promptly joined the Philippine Air Force thereafter.

In 1997, he provided tactical air reconnaissance that delivered photographs of flotilla in battle formation at the Kalayaan Islands, which strengthened the Philippine case. Col. Del Rosario has led many teams in his career, including the extrication and neutralization of an explosive device in Savers Mall, which saved hundreds of people from death or injury. Utilizing his Masters Degree in Management Defense Studies from the University of Canberra in Australia, he has also overseen several administrative changes in the AFP. Col. Del Rosario hails from Lupao, Nueva Ecija, and is married with one child.

Philippine Air Force Enlisted Personnel Category

Master Sergeant Ma. Teresa M. Bitong
Non Commissioned Officer in Charge, Director for Materiel
Philippine Air Force Officer Candidate School, Air Education and Training Command, Fernando Air Base, Lipa City

As the lone female in this years honors, MSgt Bitong is a standout in many ways. Her first few years in the Air Force were spent in service with the Presidential Security Group (PSG), providing guard to the late President Corazon Aquino during some of the most fraught years in her presidency.

Numerous citations tell of MSgt Bitong’s bravery, including a Gold Cross Medal without Bronze Anahaw Leaf, a Bronze Cross Medal for her work as a helicopter gunner in Basilan, and recognition as the PAF Enlisted Person of the Year in 1993 chosen as AFP Women Auxiliary Corps of the Year 1884.

For her involvement in the AFP-aided communities, she earned three Gawad sa Kaunlaran and an Award of the Sagisag ng Ulirang Kawal for her involvement in the Southern Philippines Observation and Tracking System, which rewarded her for her air operations monitoring environmental violations in Mindanao. MSgt Teresa Bitong, with 22 years in the record of service, hails from Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas, and is married with two children.

Master Sergeant Nelson S. Mercado
School Sergeant Major
Philippine Air Force Technical and Specialization Training School, Air Education and Training Command, Fernando Air Base, Lipa City

In another life, he probably would have been an inventor, engineer, entrepreneur, or a man of industry, but instead, the Philippine Air Force has been the grateful repository for the talents of MSgt. Nelson Mercado. He joined the PAF in 1987 and, with a total of 22 years as technical instructor, he has instructed thousands of students and trainees in Quality Management lectures.

As an engineer and technician, he has saved the PAF millions of pesos by repairing various heavily damaged aircrafts and transforming a corroded T-53 engine into a training mock-up. He has also become the face of the PAF to various elementary and high school students visiting the Fernando Air Base, which gives him the opportunity to showcase the capability of the Air Force and inspire the youth to join the PAF. MSgt. Nelson S. Mercado is married with three children.

National Development Award (Corps of Engineers)
Col. Alexis D. Tamondong
Deputy Brigade Commander
54th Engineer Brigade, Philippine Army, Camp Tito Abat, Manaoag, Pangasinan

What business does a man with two Bachelors degrees in engineering and three Masters Degrees have in the military? Col. Alexis Tamondong of the Philippine Army Corps of Engineers says he is there because the military’s business is to build not to destroy and bring happiness thru development not sorrow. A central pivot in many of the AFPs most ambitious civil building projects of the past two decades, Col. Tamondong initiated a new design for the construction of a 55 meter long hanging footbridge in Negros Occidental utilizing environment friendly materials.

Aside from his constructions projects, Col. Tamondong has also helped build road and bridges to the community and conducting 61 different MEDCAP missions in Negros Island, benefitting 31,208 indigent residents.

He has also distinguished himself on the battlefield in 1984, while serving as a training officer and security platoon leader, when he fought back against an ambush by a numerically superior enemy at Bgy. Tandaay and Nierva, Nabua, Camarines Sur.

For his acts of heroism, he was awarded the Gold Cross Medal and the Wounded Personnel Medal for gallantry in action. He was also a recipient of three bronze medals from Southern Command for saving lives and causing the peaceful surrender of several ASG and MILF rebels in Basilan. He was also recognized with three Gawad sa Kaunlaran Award, one of which was awarded by former President Fidel V. Ramos during the 61st AFP Anniversary for his community development role in nation building.

Col. Alexis Tamondong, from Quezon City, has been with the Army for 29 years, and is married with three children.

Link: https://www.facebook.com/notes/the-outstanding-philippine-soldiers-tops/meet-your-2011-outstanding-philippine-soldiers/150093185062157

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