To highlight the bravery and heroism of the late 2nd Lt. Jose Bandong, a Medal of Valor awardee, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of Education along with other stakeholders unveiled the memorabilia of the fallen soldier at the Urbiztondo Private High School in Pangasinan on June 11, 2019.
The activity was attended by AFP vice chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Melchor Mison, Jr.; Civil Relations Service, AFP head; Major Gen. Bienvenido Datuin; Urbiztondo Private High School principal Julius C. Doria; and Luisa Bandong, wife of the honoree.
The ceremony was part of AFP’s project entitled “Medal for Valor Recognition”, AFP public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said in a statement on June 12, 2019.
The program aims to create awareness on the gallantry of Medal of Valor awardees and instill patriotism and nationalism among the young people.
The Medal of Valor is the highest military honor awarded for a conspicuous deed of personal bravery or self-sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty that distinguishes the recipient from his comrades.
Bandong is a former resident of Barangay Dalaguiring, Urbiztondo, Pangasinan, and is one of the five children of Jose and Edna Bandong.
For his primary and secondary education, he attended Dalaguiring Integrated School and Urbiztondo Private High School.
The Pangasinense hero distinguished himself for his acts of conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as the platoon leader under the 24th Infantry Battalion who died saving his men from certain death on April 10, 1992, in the boundaries of Sagada and Bontoc.
Bandong and his men engaged guerrillas belonging to the New People’s Army’s Chadli Molintas Command and later forced the NPA fighters to withdraw.
Bandong’s 35-man unit was preparing to leave the area when one of their teams which was sent ahead to secure the route was suddenly ambushed by rebel reinforcements. No sooner had the unit linked up again when another group of NPA fighters also showed and began firing at them.
In the six-hour gunfight, Bandong was hit with a bullet to the left shoulder.
Based on the accounts of the officers, Bandong later called his troops manning the artillery and gave his final orders: “Fire on my location” as his last resort to save his men and to wipe out the enemy.
His supreme sacrifice of which he earned a posthumous Medal of Valor no doubt saved the lives of his men. (Priam Nepomuceno , PNA)