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07/01/2010: Philippine Government Awards U.S. Army Personnel for Humanitarian Operations and Civic Action in Mindanao

On 07 January 2010, while representing the Philippine Ambassador to the United States and the Philippine Government, Philippine Defense and Armed Forces Attaché B/Gen. Antonio Supnet presented the Philippine Military Civic Action Medal to fifteen members of Charlie Company of the U.S. Army’s 97th Civil Affairs Battalion based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The medals were awarded to members of Charlie Company by Lt./Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino of Western Mindanao Command and Lt./Gen. Raymundo Ferrer of the Eastern Mindanao Command for meritorious effort and achievement in the conduct of various humanitarian and civic action activities in Mindanao in cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and local government units in the area of operations.

Members of the 97th Civil Affairs Battalion who were deployed to the Philippines with the U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines stationed in Zamboanga worked closely with their Philippine counterparts and in cooperation with local authorities in building schools, wells and health centers, and in conducting medical, dental and veterinary missions to remote villages and areas in Mindanao. In the past 9 months, 41 schools were built, countless wells drilled and thousands of Filipinos in remote villages were given medical and dental care.

Commenting on the recognition given to these American servicemen by the Philippine Government, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa said, “As our two countries work closely together in pursuit of common security objectives and shared objectives of attaining peace and stability in the region, the Philippine Government wanted to acknowledge the valuable service and contribution of our allies, particularly the individual soldiers who are instrumental to the effectiveness and success of our efforts to bring stability and security in Mindanao."

Ambassador Gaa further explained that this gesture by the Philippine Government also aims to highlight the effectiveness and bring attention to the value of humanitarian and civic action operations to the over-all security strategy of the Philippine Government in its fight against terrorism in Southern Philippines. Ambassador Gaa noted that, “Civic action and humanitarian operations of the type conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. Army’s 97th Civil Affairs Battalion are key components to a holistic approach to counterterrorism that involves the complementary use of hard and soft power and has been proven by numerous successes our Government has achieved in Mindanao in partnership with our U.S. allies in recent years. It is only fitting and proper that due recognition and acknowledgement should be accorded to those who make significant contributions to the over-all success of this effort and strategy.” END.

B/Gen Mark Supnet, Philippine Defense and Armed Forces Attaché with Lt./Gen. John F. Mulholland, Jr. the Commander of the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Command

B/Gen Supnet awarding the Philippine Military Civic Action Medal to members of Charlie Company of the U.S. Army’s 97th Civil Affairs Battalion