Utility worker who help save Surigao police station from 100 attacking NPA rebels cited for his bravery
by Ben Serrano
May 2, 2011
LIANGA, Surigao del Sur(PNA) - No less than DILG Secretary Jesse Manalastas Robredo and PNP Director General Raul Macalalad Bacalzo, top Surigao del Sur local government unit officials, military and police officials thanked Rodel Aquilam, a volunteer utility worker at Lianga Police Station who valiantly helped Lianga policemen fight for nearly two hours the more than 100 fully armed NPA rebels who attacked Lianga Police Station on Thursday.
DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo and Philippine National Police Director General Raul Bacalzo personally visited this town, inspected Lianga Police Station and awarded 15 Lianga cops and two soldiers with Medalya Ng Kagitingan award.
They were also given spot promotions.
Said policemen and two soldiers together with Aqilam engaged the more than 100 attacking NPA rebels belonging to Northeastern Mindanao Regional Command of the CPP/NDF/NPA in a gunfight that lasted more than two hours.
Philippine Army’s 401st Commanding Officer Col. Augusto Tolentino and Caraga PNP regional director Chief Supt. Reynaldo S Rafal formally introduced to the DILG and PNP chiefs during their visit here the volunteer utility worker
Rodel Aquilam, 25, single who hails from Sibagat, Agusan del Sur has been doing errand jobs for Lianga Police Station for years now.
Tolentino at the awarding rites’ program enumerated “heroic deeds” of Aquilam whom Tolentino described without Aquilam’s presence of mind Lianga Municipal Police Station could have been overrun by the attacking communist rebels.
Tolentino said it was Aquilam who first noticed the presence of more than 100 attacking NPA rebels already surrounding the police station and the Lianga Municipal Hall.
Tolentino added it was the volunteer utility worker who informed the nine policemen and two government troopers the presence of communist rebels who were busy then establishing position surrounding the police station.
Rafal for his part claimed it was also Aquilam as an errand boy who provided ammunitions to Lianga cops while engaging the attacking NPA rebels in nearly two hours gunfight.
Rafal added it was Aquilam who helped six other responding Lianga policemen who were in their respective homes re-grouped with their colleagues holed up inside the police station fighting the rebels and preventing them to overrun the police station.
Surigao del Sur Police Provincial Director Senior Supt. Julito Morin Diray in a separate interview said it was also Aquilam who informed some sleeping cops at that time as it was still very early about the presence of the communist rebels.
Lianga Vice Mayor Roberto Lala, Jr. whoknew Aquilam personally, in a speech at the awarding rites praised Aquilam's valiant help saying Aquilam who served Lianga Police for years now as volunteer utility worker is not only an errand boy but also a cook, a janitor and all around worker as well.
Aquilam in a separate interview with this writer after he was given citation or award by Robredo and Bacalzo told this writer he was at the kitchen washing dishes early morning Saturday, preparing coffee for the policemen and soldiers when he first took noticed that there were some persons at the back of the police station.
Back of Lianga Police Station is a hill overlooking Lianga town, Municipal Hall and the police station.
Aquilam said he crawled towards the area where some still sleeping and some awake Lianga cops were positioned and informed them what he saw and when he come back to the kitchen, the communist rebels opened fired at him.
Aquilam claimed he then covered for safety and even grabbed one armalite rifle near him to make it appear all cops inside were prepared to fight and opened fire which lead for some rebels to retract a little bit.
Aquilam said he thought they will be overrun because he noticed armed NPA rebels already occupied the municipal hall building, "but I did not lost hope instead I quickly informed them (cops and soldiers) about the situation". Aquilam added.
When asked if he will do the chance to help again, Aquilam replied, “I will”.
DILG Secretary Robredo and PNP Chief Bacalzo handed a white envelope to Aquilam during awarding rites reportedly containing reward money and thanked Aquilam’s heroic deeds.
Nearly 300 Lianga residents present at the awarding rites held in front Lianga Municipal Hall almost noon Saturday give round of applause to Aquilam with some chanting his name’ Thanks Rodel”.(PNA/Ben Serrano)
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