Brave Soldiers Receive 'Purple Heart'
FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City – The Philippine Army has awarded its version of the 'Purple Heart' to the soldiers who survived a bomb attack by terrorists in Zamboanga del Sur.
Brigadier General Ricardo Rainier Cruz, the Commanding General of the Army's 1st Infantry Division, awarded the two soldiers who survived the bomb shrapnel which tore parts of their body.
Cruz awarded the Wounded Personnel Medal (WPM) to 2nd Lieutenant Mark Joseph A Facaltan and Private First Class Boy Sarab during his visit at their ward in Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City on February 23.
"I am very proud for your heroism and dedication in this particular incident. You did not hesitate to proceed to the scene of the explosion despite the risks that you are confronting," said Cruz in a statement.
Named as the Wounded Personnel Medal (WPM), the award is equivalent to the U.S. Army's popular award of the Purple Heart, granted to its wounded soldiers. Soldiers receive the WPM award for 'wounds sustained while in actual conflict with the enemy'.
It can be recalled that Facaltan and Sarab were wounded when an improvised bomb exploded as their vehicle passed by at around 7:20am on February 17, 2012. They were members of the team which responded to an urgent call for help when another bomb explosion claimed the life of Rey Collamat, 42, in Usokan village, Labason town.
A day after the bombing incident, another soldier was wounded in ambush perpetrated by unidentified lawless elements in Brgy. Langon, Upper Tungawan town.
Private First Class Robert C Concepcion was onboard a motorcycle for a coordinating activity in the village when the attack happened. Cocepcion also received the Wounded Personnel Medal.
Soldiers and policemen are the first responders during bomb explosions that sometimes occur in some rebel infested areas. The latest bomb attack was blamed to a former secessionist rebel who has turned into a notorious criminal.