NFW commander Commodore Renato P. David pins the military merit medal on the chest of one of the seven sailors who rendered selfless service during their assignment on BRP Sierra Madre. (Photo courtesy of NFW)

Despite the current situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Naval Forces West (NFW) awarded on April 2, 2020, the outgoing security personnel that manned the BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) on Ayungin Shoal in the Kalayaan Islands Group (KIG) in the West Philippine Sea for almost four months.

The activity transpired at the Naval Station Apolinario Jalandoon in Barangay San Miguel.

“In spite of the current situation our country is facing, your Naval Forces West through the guidance of the higher headquarters has instituted measures to ensure its sustained operations in the West Philippine Sea prioritizing the protection of its personnel while performing their roles,” the NFW said in a statement sent to Palawan News.

The low key affair was headed by no less than the NFW commander Commodore Renato P. David who personally pinned the medals. He was assisted by Col. Antonio G. Mangoroban, Jr., the commander of the Naval Task Force 42.

The award of the Military Merit Medal was given to seven sailors headed by Lt. Charles Roger T. Balquin, as a fitting tribute to their selfless service of effective deployment at LS57 while enforcing maritime laws and protecting Philippine sovereignty amidst the volatile condition in the disputed area.