Captain Ignacio Gumilab Jr., a Cordilleran soldier from Tinglayan, Kalinga, was awarded the Gold Cross Medal, the fourth highest award for combat, in recognition of his pivotal role in the successful neutralization of Zukarno Guilil, also known as Motorola, the 8th Division Commander of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Acting Chief of Staff of the BIFF Karilan Faction.
The award was presented to Gumilab by Major General Alex S. Rillera, Commander of the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division, Philippine Army, during a flag-raising ceremony at Camp Siongco, Awang, DOS, Maguindanao Del Norte on Monday, August 14.
Gumilab was among the soldiers involved in a firefight between government troops and BIFF in December 2021 in Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao. During the clash, Motorola was shot and confirmed dead by an official of the Philippine Army.
Motorola was a well-known bomb expert and was responsible for a number of bombings and attacks in Maguindanao. He also had a number of active arrest warrants for crimes like murder, attempted murder, arson, and violating the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
The Gold Cross Medal is awarded to soldiers who have displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy. Gumilab was awarded the medal for his bravery and leadership in the neutralization of Motorola.
Captain Gumilab's award is a testament to the bravery of the Cordilleran soldiers in the Philippine Army and a reminder of their willingness to put their lives on the line to protect the people of the Philippines from harm.
Aside from Gumilab, the following Army officers were also awarded:
- Sergeant Paul Castillano, who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Star, the third highest award for combat.
- Private First Class Joeper Dela Cruz, who was awarded the Silver Cross Medal, the fifth highest award for combat.
- All members of the 6th Infantry (RedSkin) Battalion under the leadership of Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Michael Glenn Manansala, who were awarded the Bronze Cross Medal, the sixth highest award for combat.
The awards were presented to the soldiers by Major General Alex S. Rillera, Commander of the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division, Philippine Army.
The awards are a testament to the bravery and dedication of the Philippine Army in the fight against terrorism. They also serve as a reminder of the dangers faced by our soldiers every day in the line of duty.