Maj. Gen. Arturo B. Ortiz, new Philippine Army chief, is a Medal of Valor awardee
July 23, 2010 10:43 pm
By Ben Cal
MANILA, July 23 -– Outnumbered, but not outfought.
This is the description that fits well with Maj. Gen. Arturo B. Ortiz, the newly-installed commanding general of the Philippine Army, who was awarded the Medal of Valor, the highest military award, for leading a handful of his men in a fierce gun battle during a raid on a rebel stronghold manned by 300 New People’s Army (NPA) fighters in Murcia, Negros Occidental on April 6, 1990.
Unmindful of his safety, Ortiz, then a captain, led the assault that left 84 NPA rebels killed (body count), eight others captured when the soldiers overran the NPA lair. During the raid, the soldiers also seized cache of weapons and ammunition that vastly reduced the NPA strength in Negros Occidental.
At that time, Ortiz was the commanding officer of the 606th Special Forces of the Philippine Army. He had five teams with him and reinforced by members of the Civilian Auxiliary Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU)
With his display of exceptional courage and high degree of leadership in the midst of grave danger, Ortiz rallied his men to fight that resulted in the capture of the NPA stronghold.
For gallantry in combat beyond the call of duty, Ortiz was awarded the Medal of Valor by then President Corazon C. Aquino, mother of incumbent President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III, in 1990.
Ortiz is also a recipient of four Distinguished Service Stars, three Gold Cross Medals, four Bronze Cross Medals, four Military Merit Medals for Combat, at least 17 Military Merit Medals for Administration, Military Commendation Medals, Letters of Commendation and Appreciation, and various Campaign medals and ribbons.
He was also bestowed the most coveted Cavalier Award for Outstanding Performance as Military Professional in Army Operations in 1991 and an Alumni Achievement Award in 1996, both from the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc.
Ortiz assumed on Friday as the 53rd Philippine Army chief. He replaced Lt. Gen. Reynaldo B. Mapagu, who was named as vice chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Before he was named as Army chief, Ortiz was the commander of the Special Operations Command (SOCOM). He is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1979.
His previous positions include: Commander, Special Forces Regiment (Airborne), Philippine Army from January 2006 to November 2008; Deputy Commander, SFRA, Philippine Army from October 2005 to January 2006; Chief, AFP Command Center from September 2003 to June 2005; Head, Tactics Group and Commandant of Cadets, Philippine Military Academy, from August 2002 to August 2003; Commanding Officer, Security and Escort Battalion, Headquarters and Headquarters Support Group, Philippine Army from April 2001 to August 2002; Head, Military Operations Department, Training and Doctrine Command, Philippine Army from January 2001 to April 2001; Battalion Commander of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn), SFR(A), SOCOM, Philippine Army from July 1993 to March 1996; Company Commander, 606th Special Forces Company from February 1987 to May 1991 and Team Leader of the 1st and 10th Special Forces Company from 1979 to 1985.
His stint with the Special Forces units brought him to major military campaigns against different rebel groups in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and Sulu Islands where he consistently distinguished himself as an exceptional commander.
Ortiz and his wife, Cynthia, are blessed with seven children – Alberto, Armando, Arturo II, Angelo, Alejandro, Adriano and Antonio. (PNA Feature)