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From left: Director Arsenio Andolong, Chief, Defense Communication Service; Major General Gabriel Viray III, Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations; Blanca Mercado, The Manila Times President and COO; Dr. Dante A. Ang, Sr., Chairman Emeritus, The Manila Times; DND OIC Undersecretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr.; Jennifer Jones, The Manila Times TV Operations Manager; Defense Assistant Secretary for Human Resource Antonio Bautista; and Brigadier General Arvin Lagamon, Commander, Civil Relations Service.

DND, AFP partner with ‘The Manila Times’ for “Tribute to Soldiers”

The Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) expressed their appreciation, cooperation and commitment to The Manila Times (TMT) and TMT- TV for their “Tribute to Soldiers” at Camp Aguinaldo on March 27, 2023.

DND Officer-in-Charge Senior Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr., together with Dr. Dante Ang Sr., chairperson emeritus of the TMT, formally signed the manifesto of support to the first ever “Tribute to Soldiers”, an awarding ceremony for the Armed Forces’ exemplary soldiers.

“The event will fittingly honor ten military personnel and one military unit for their exemplary achievements from the previous year,” Galvez said.

Awards are grouped in four categories, namely: contribution in the combat zone; outstanding community service; innovations in administrative and logistics functions; and achievement in education. With the exception of the education category, each category will have three (3) awardees. Special recognition will also be given to military personnel, who are manning outposts in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Ang, meanwhile, expressed his love for our troops, stating that they are the “unsung heroes of our time”. In his speech, he described the lives of the soldiers who are fighting for the freedom of our country from the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).

“Together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, The Manila Times, and The Manila Times TV, will be honoring our men and women in uniform for their vigorous defense of our freedom, bravery in action, commitment to peace, and in fostering understanding between our people and our government,” Ang said.

The AFP, on the other hand, expressed their appreciation for this initiative to promote public trust and appreciation for Filipino soldiers.

“As an organization that continuously endeavors to respond and adapt to the demands of an ever evolving security environment as well as to the challenges for contributing to national development, we give importance in advancing professionalism and meritocracy,” Major General Gabriel C. Viray III, Deputy Chief-of-Staff for CMO, J7 said, quoting AFP’s Chief-of-Staff General Andres Centino.

Galvez reiterated that this undertaking would further uplift the morale of the men and women of the AFP, and inspire them to work harder in fulfilling the organization’s mandate of “Securing the State and Protecting its People”.

The OIC, DND also commented that in light of the forthcoming commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan and Veterans Week, the “Tribute to Soldiers” will be a fitting testimony to our men in uniform, especially our retirees and veterans, who selflessly served our country when they were needed the most.

“Let me conclude this message of gratitude and support of the Department of National Defense and the AFP for this partnership in bringing to light notable deeds of heroism, by quoting the words of General Antonio Luna, in one of his letters to Dr. Jose Rizal in Barcelona, Spain in the year 1889.
He said: “I will show them that the Filipinos have more dignity, more courage, more honor….” Indeed, this Tribute to Soldiers will show our people and the world that Filipino soldiers have more dignity, more courage, and more honor than anyone else,” the Defense Chief concluded. (VICTOR BALDEMOR RUIZ)

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