Philippine Army honors 2 top lady cannoneers

March 10, 2015 4:02 am 

FORT RAMON MAGSAYSAY, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, March 9 – Two lady cannoneers who distinguished themselves in leadership and management as well as in artillery operations that resulted in the upliftment of the morale and material benefits of the artillery personnel and the community were honored during the Philippine Army’s 78th founding anniversary on Saturday.

This is in conjunction with the celebration of Women’s Day.

The first female awardee was Major Lourdes Osias Guevara for being the first female battery commander of the Philippine Army in 1998. She held the position for two years during the all-out military offensives in North Cotabato.

That time, Guevara was also awarded the Gold Cross Medal – the highest military award for combat operations – for her astounding feat in combat support to the infantry units in providing timely and first-round “target hit” artillery fires.

The second awardee, Major Leah Lorenzo Santiago was recognized for her performance as battery commander in the areas of Rizal.

In the absence of fire support missions in 2005, Santiago led her battery to initiate community activities thereby integrating the efforts of local government units, agencies and the private sectors that alleviated its economic condition.

Her efforts became a template which was emulated by various military units.

Santiago was also the first female officer of the Philippine Army who led an infantry company in 1998 during the all-out offensives in Lanao del Sur.

During her stint as company commander, she was also awarded the Gold Cross for the successful operation against rogue elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that led to its neutralization and recovery of assorted high-powered firearms.

Army General Gregorio Pio P. Catapang Jr. presented the awards to them, together with retired AFP commanders, Lt. General Arthur I. Tabaquero, former EastMinCom (East Mindanao Command) commander and Brigadier General Pedro P. Biasbas, former Regiment Commander of the Army Artillery Regiment (AAR) and current president and chairman of the AFPI Board of Trustees, respectively.

The AFP has opened opportunities to women in leading tactical units after the Magna Carta for Women was enacted into law, and the artillery service recognizes women’s skills to be effective in artillery operations. (PNA)



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