Soldiers and policemen received Gold Cross medals from the Western Mindanao Command on Sunday for meritorious acts during the government’s five-month pacification efforts in Marawi City. John Unson/Philstar.com

Soldiers, police awarded Gold Cross medals for Marawi
John Unson (philstar.com) - October 24, 2017 - 5:35am

LANAO DEL SUR — Four policemen and 23 soldiers were awarded the Gold Cross medals for gallantry in fighting Maute and Abu Sayyaf gunmen in Marawi City.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr. of the Western Mindanao Command told The STAR via mobile phone Tuesday that Senior Supt. Rolando Anduyan and Supt. Danny Bacas deserve the medals for putting their lives on the line in helping soldiers fight Maute and Abu Sayyaf gunmen for five months.

Anduyan is assistant director for administration of Police Regional Office-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao while Bacas is chief of ARMM's police intelligence division.

Galvez also awarded Gold Cross medals to Senior Inspector Seth Mark Alob and Police Officer 3 Isah Sangcad.

The symbolic medal pinning rite was held on Sunday in Marawi City, witnessed by officers of Task Force Marawi and commanders of different military and police units that fought Maute and Abu Sayyaf gunmen.

“These police officers have exemplified courage under pressure and dedication to service in very dangerous, difficult moments,” Galvez said.

Anduyan is assistant director for administration of Police Regional Office-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao while Bacas is chief of the ARMM's police intelligence division.

“The Western Mindanao Command is thankful to both of them and to all other policemen from across ARMM and from other parts of the country who helped restore law and order in Marawi City,” Galvez said.

Both Mindanaons, Anduyan and Bacas, born and raised in Iligan City and in Maguindanao, respectively, led PRO-ARMM’s Regional Public Safety Battalion supporting military units since the trouble in Marawi City started last May 23.

Supt. Ebra Moxsir, chief of the Marawi City police, said on Tuesday that morale in their ranks soared immediately when they learned that Westmincom will award Anduyan and Bacas with Gold Cross medals.

“That was more than enough recognition of our share in the sacrifices for the liberation of Marawi City from very misguided religious extremists,” said Moxsir, an Islamic theologian.

Moxsir was designated Marawi City police chief in July for him to lead religious programs meant to counter the recruitment activities of the Maute terror group.

Galvez said among the laudable law enforcement feats of Anduyan and Bacas at the height of the Marawi siege was the arrest in June in Masiu town in Lanao del Sur of Ominta Farhana Romato-Maute, mother of siblings Omar and Abdullah Maute.

She was intercepted by a team led by Anduyan and Bacas, acting on tips from vigilant Maranaos, while escaping from Masiu to another town on board a private vehicle.

Omar and Abdullah, who both studied in Islamic schools in Syria and Jordan, founded the Maute terror group.

The Gold Cross medals pinned on four policemen and 23 soldiers. John Unson/PhilStar.com

The group, which uses the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as its revolutionary banner, first emerged in 2014 in Butig town in Lanao del Sur, hometown of their now detained mother.

Chief Supt. Graciano Mijares, director of PRO-ARMM, said he is thankful to Galvez for his tacit acknowledgement of how police units helped defeat Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists who laid siege to Marawi City.

The PRO-ARMM deployed hundreds of battle-ready policemen to Marawi City within two hours after Maute and Abu Sayyaf gunmen showed force and displayed the ISIS flag in strategic areas there on May 23.

Six members of PRO-ARMM were killed while 61 others were injured in clashes that ensued in the next four months as a consequence of the attack.

“Seeing our men cited for serving country and people is heart-rending. It’s a morale booster for us, for police personnel in all parts of the region,” Mijares said.

Besides the four policemen, Galvez also pinned Gold Cross medals in the same event to 23 soldiers from the 2nd and 3rd Scout Ranger Battalions and the 10th Infantry Battalion.

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