The Armed Forces of the Philippines in collaboration with the Local Government of La Castellana, Negros Occidental and Provincial Government of Negros Occidental, honored the memory of late Lieutenant Lolinato G To-ong Sr. PN (M), a Medal for Valor Awardee by unveiling a Bust Pedestal at Cabacungan Elementary School, Brgy Cabacungan, La Castellana, Negros Occidental on May 13.
First Lieutenant Lolinato G To-ong Sr PN (M) was a member of the 52nd Marine Company, Force Reconnaissance Battalion and 9th Marine Battalion, Philippine Marine Corps, Philippine Navy who on April 30, 2000 beyond the call of duty bravely launched an attack against heavily fortified enemy bunkers belonging to Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) at vicinity of Poblacion Matanog, Maguindanao together with the Scout Rangers.
The Medal for Valor (Medalya ng Kagitingan) is the AFP’s highest military honor award for a conspicuous deed of personal bravery or self-sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty that distinguishes the recipient from his comrades. It is defined as an award for “heroism” in combat. The AFP have recorded 41 Medal for Valor recipients since 1935.
Honorable Eugenio Jose V Lacson in his message said, “As a people, we need to have constant reminders of feats that are noble and honorable, for us to look up to, to value and to emulate. Let us honor Lt To-ong’s sacrifice by giving back in gratitude, not in words but through our actions, by being conscientious, active and responsible members of our community and society. Let us make the present generation understand that history is not just some stories of the past, that our history was marked by sacrifices of real people just like us”, he added.
Mayor Rhumyla Nicor-Mangilimutan of La Castellana for her part conveyed that, “Peaceful environment brings development for the community and the people. Each one of us is a hero in our own way and Medal for Valor is special only awarded to the bravest”, she added.
Meanwhile, General Cirilito Sobejana, Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines who graced the activity uttered “This remarkable day is an honor for me that I enjoin the
people of La Castellana, Negros Occidental in unveiling this shrine that shall memorialize the heroic deeds of the late 1Lt Lolinato To-ong Sr PN Marines. It is through the selflessness and earnest dedication of men like 1Lt To-ong that the Armed Forces of the Philippines continues to do notable accomplishments in fulfilling its mandate of bringing peace for the people in our community. On that day, April 30, 2000 had it not been for 1Lt To-ong’s heroism, more soldiers would be probably wounded and even dead. I know that the La Castellana community is proud that a real hero was born and bred in this town and be the source of inspiration for its people both young and old.” General Sobejana said.
Major General Eric Vinoya, the Commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division said in his statement that the gallantry displayed by late 1LT To-ong is a strong manifestation of boldness and heroism by sacrificing his own life to save the country from the secessionist group. “May his heroism serve as an inspiration to all of us, as we perform our sworn mandate to serve and secure the people of Western and Central Visayas,” said MGen Vinoya.
“The story of Lt. To-ong is just an immeasurable display of our soldier’s unwavering will to forge on despite the challenges in the battlefield. Many other stories may remain untold but such gestures from our civilian stakeholders inspire us to carry out our work, and if essential, put our lives on the line to accomplish the mission. Lt To-ong’s acts was a bravery and heroism is a path worth taking than that of our deceived brothers and sisters by the CPP-NPA.” said Colonel Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade Commander.
The recognition ceremony was facilitated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Civil Relations Service and attended by AFP Chief of Staff General Cirilito A Sobejana PA; General Roberto T Ancan PA, Commander, Central Command AFP; Hon. Eugenio Jose Lacson, Governor, Negros Occidental; Hon. Rhumyla Nicor G Mangilimutan, Municipal Mayor, La Castellana; Colonel Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade Commander; Police Colonel Romy I Palgue, Provincial Director, NOCPPO; Ms Florijyll A Villar, Principal, Cabacungan E.S.; Elementary School officials, students and Lt. To-ong’s family were also present headed by Rev. Fr. Ludovico G To-ong.