By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
A tracking working dog of the Philippine Army was among the medal recipients who were honored on Tuesday, April 19, by the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) for their participation in the successful military operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) in Negros island.
Ella, a Belgian Malinois, received a Military Merit Medal, along with his handler Private First Class Dave Calumbres.
The award was handed over by 3ID commander Major General Benedict Arevalo.
The ceremony took place at the headquarters of the 11th Infantry Battalion in the town of Siaton in Negros Oriental.
An Army Scout platoon leader and 10 of his men, including Calumbres and the K9 dog, were cited by Arevalo for their role in the armed encounter in Sibulan last Holy Thursday, which resulted to the death of an NPA member, which they later identified as a squad leader of the insurgents.
According to Arevalo, Ella and his handler helped in tracking down the fleeing rebels and later the discovery of the dead NPA fighter.
Military Merit Medals were also conferred by Arevalo to 19 soldiers, including four officers of the 94th Infantry Battalion, as well as 12 Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) members, who were also involved in another encounter with communist rebels also on April 14 in Barangay Caradioan, Himamaylan City, that led to the death of another NPA leader.
A Wounded Personnel Medal was also given to a member of the 94IB who was injured in the Himamaylan City encounter./DGB, WDJ