MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte awarded the “Distinguished Conduct Star” to an Igorot captain during the 84th Anniversary of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Tuesday, December 17, 2019, held a Camp General Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
The Distinguished Conduct Star is the second-highest military award in the Philippine Army, preceded in precedence only by the Medal of Valor.
This award was given for his bravery and heroism he displayed for successfully leading his troop in rescuing a British man and his Filipina wife who were abducted by ASG (Abu Sayaff Group) on a beach in Zamboanga last Oct 4, 2019.
The couple was identified as Allan and Wilma Hyrons a school owner in Zamboanga. They were hidden in Jolo, Sulu for almost two months before they were rescued.
Anyway, the captain who led the successful rescue mission was Cpt. Rico Tagure, he commands the 4th Special Forces Company of the Special Forces Battalion in the Philippine Army.
Okay, so ituloy ko lang biit dyay isturya (back to our rescue mission story). The “hot pursuit” of Abu Sayyaf targets happened near the boundary between Barangay Silangkan and Barangay Taha in Parang town before 9 am on Nov. 27, 2019. After 3 days of successive armed encounters with the bandit group in an effort to rescue the couple and other kidnap victims.
According to Lt Gen Cirilito Sobejana, regional military commander, the troops were caught up with the Abu Sayyaf captors in the mountainous hinterlands of Parang town in Sulu province and the gun battle erupted.
“There was a running gun battle,” Sobejana said. “Naiwan ‘yung dalawa, hindi na nila kayang dalahin, so they scampered away to different directions. Pero tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang hot pursuit natin, nandoon pa rin ‘yung ating tropa, on the ground,” (They left the two (on Mt. Piahan, still in Parang town) behind because they could not drag them any more. They scampered in different directions but our troops are in pursuit.)
The couple was not hurt in the 10-minute exchange of fire, the military said, adding that no ransom had been paid to the group.
Mabuhay ka Captain Rico Tagure! We are proud of you kailiyan!