Sunday, November 7, 2010

Retconning, AFP Style

I found it très cool that the Philippine Army has a Medal of Valor awardee, Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz, as its 53rd commanding general. Since that is the stuff the Filipino action films of my youth were made of—remember Medal of Valor: Habang Nasusugatan Lalong Tumatapang starring Lito Lapid?—I dicked around the Interwebs looking for Gen. Ortiz's MoV citation.

This is what I found on the Philippine Army website:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, during fierce firefight with about 200 numerically superior rebel at Sitio Wanepolon, Pandaran Murcia, Negros Occidental on 6 April 1990. While serving as commander of five joint Leons of the 606th Special Forces Company and CAFGU ELEMENTS. Captain Ortis acted on information on the presence of a terrorist camp in Murcia and initiated the planned rail. Leading his troops through tough terrain, they successfully infiltrated the camp and engaged the enemy in a 2-hour gun battle that resulted in the death of 85 terrorists, the capture of 8 more and the recovery of assorted firearms and ammunitions.
Meanwhile, this is what retired Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Ramon J. Farolan wrote in his Philippine Daily Inquirer column "Reveille":
Maj. Gen. Art Ortiz, a soldier of valor

x x x

As his Medal for Valor (MFV) citation reads: "The two-hour gunbattle resulted in 84 terrorists killed, with 22 dead bodies counted, including 17 recovered on-site, eight captured and several others wounded and missing as reported by the Negros Regional Party Committee. Recovered from the enemy were 33 assorted firearms, 21 rifle grenades, several hand grenades, five ICOM radios, and other enemy equipment.

"By this display of exceptional courage and high degree of leadership, Capt. Ortiz distinguished himself in the field of combat in keeping with the highest tradition of Filipino soldiery."

Full story …
Astig. I think, though, that neither of those two is exactly how Gen. Ortiz's citation originally went. After all, it was only post-9/11 that the New People's Army was labeled a "terrorist organization"; in the 1990s, NPA members were still "rebels," not "terrorists."

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