Before we talk about the Medal of Valor benefits under R.A. 9049, let me share with you a little story that happened last April of 1996…
One fateful night near Barangay Sinepetan, a huge group of over 400 heavily armed Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels marched towards the town of Carmen in North Cotabato. Due to the overwhelming number of hostile forces, some AFP officers in the area have been told to stand down.
One Scout Ranger officer, however, decided to ignore that order to save the town of Carmen. That night, in what’s widely considered one of the most dangerous missions ever done by an elite unit in the AFP, Capt. Robert Edward Lucero took an elite team of 14 Scout Rangers and they went on to attack the rebels directly.
For 9 hours, the small team held the line to protect the town of Carmen without receiving any backup or support. As they ran out of bullets and grenades, Capt. Lucero noticed the enemy 50 Cal. machine gun and the mortars that caused the most casualties to his team. In an all-or-nothing gamble, he stealthily crawled through the battlefield alone using the cover of darkness to his advantage. Through his act of courage, he was able to kill the rebel machine gunner, and take control of the machine gun from within enemy lines. By killing over 29 enemy rebels and their commander named Mangyan, he was able to turn the tide of battle, thus forcing most of the rebels to flee.
While firing at the remaining rebels, tending to his wounded comrades and maneuvering them to safer positions, Capt. Lucero, unfortunately, was shot in the head by an enemy sniper and was killed in battle.
He paid the ultimate sacrifice in service of the country.
That… was the story of my father, Capt. Robert Edward M. Lucero. “The Hero of Carmen, Cotabato”, he is one of the rare few who have been awarded the Medal of Valor, the highest combat award in the Philippine military.[Read more…]