Army 18th Special Forces Company's Corporal (Cpl) King Melchor Ponce de Leon and Private First Class (Pfc) Rhenee Baroman hold the award they received on December 6, 2019, at the PICC in Manila. (Photo courtesy of 18th SFC)

The Philippine Army’s (PA) 18th Special Forces Company (Riverine) Stingray Special Forces has been awarded the “Heroic Act Award for Group Category” and P100,000 incentive in the 21st Gawad Kalasag National Awards by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC).

The Kalasag (Kalamidad at Sakuna Labanan sa Sariling Galing ang Kaligtasan) award is given to individuals, non-government organizations, private sector, and government organizations in recognition of their initiative in helping the Philippines uplift its disaster management standard.



Army Capt. Skat Carvajal, commanding officer of the 18th SFC, said Monday to Palawan News that they received the award after being selected as a finalist for the Heroic Category by the National Selection Committee (NSC).

Carvajal said they received the award on December 6 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila, including a P100,000 incentive from the OCD.

“‘Yong program was introduced by friends from the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) na mayroong category for Gawad Kalasag. Ni-recommend nila at nag-submit naman kami noong parang citation and details noong incidents. Apprehensive kami noong una kasi ngayon lang din namin nalaman na may ganoong award from the NDRRMC, little did we expect na ang patutunguhan niya ay maka-receive kami ng award,” Carvajal said.

The 18th SFC was cited for going above and beyond its call of duty by saving the lives of two civilians in a drowning incident on January 1, 2019, involving a six-year-old and the actual resuscitation of another victim.

“These accomplishments are notable contributions to the national effort to build a safer, climate change adaptive and a disaster-resilient Philippines, worthy of emulation our people and recognition from Gawag Kalasag,” the award said.

Carvajal said the award was received for the 18th SFC by Corporal (Cpl) King Melchor Ponce de Leon and Private First Class (Pfc) Rhenee Baroman, two of the five rescuers who risked their lives to save the drowning victims. The remaining are Cpl. Jacson Jay Paculba, Cpl. John Reymund Baradillo, and Pfc. Joan Liboon.

Out of hundreds of entries submitted to the NSC, only four received the award this year.

The awarding ceremony was attended by National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana as the guest of honor and speaker with OCD administrator Usec. Ricardo Jalad.


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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.