By Francis Allan L. Angelo

MEMBERS of the 6thRegional Mobile Group (RMG) who were dispatched to Jolo, Sulu are heroes, not bad eggs.

This was the reaction of the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) to a report in a tabloid (not The Daily Guardian) that the RMG contingent sent to Sulu was composed of cops with “various infractions.”

C/Supt. Isagani Cuevas, PRO-6 director, denied the report in a statement Tuesday.

“Most of our contingents were neophyte police. They have just finished their course on Special Counter-Insurgency Operations Unit Training (SCOUT) when the national headquarters directed us to send one company to augment the forces in Mindanao,” Cuevas said.

Cuevas said the RMG personnel were sent to Jolo on April 10, 2009 when the Abu Sayyaff Group (ASG) kidnapped three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“They are heroes, not bad eggs,” Cuevas said.

The RMG contingent also formed part of Task Force Bandit in Jolo from April 10 to October 22.

The 75 cops arrived in Iloilo Sunday evening with tears welling in their eyes after their “tough” 6-month assignment in Mindanao.

Police Director Ray Roderos, head of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Visayas, and Cuevas led the welcome party for the cops.

On Monday, Roderos and Cuevas awarded medals to the RMG contingent for their achievements in Mindanao.

S/Insp. Jerry H. Abrogina, the contingent’s team leader, and four other officers received the Mindanao Campaign Medal and Medalya ng Kasanayan.

The 70 Police Non-Commissioned Officers (PNCOs) got Medalya ng Papuri (PNP Commendation Medal) “for their participation in weakening the Abu Sayyaff Group (ASG) forces which eventually led to the release of the kidnapped ICRC volunteers, destruction of ASG camps in the area, recovery of various firearms  and ammunitions, and confiscation of several motorboats and vehicles used in kidnapping activities.”

Roderos considered the contingents as heroes for their showing of dedication and bravery in risking their lives in the service of the people of Mindanao and of the country.

POSTHUMOUS AWARD

PRO-6 also recognized the late PO1 Jonel C. Aficionado who died last June 14 while in Sulu.

Aficionado’s wife Lenne Beth received the Medalya ng Papuri.

After Mindanao, the PRO6 contingents will continue its anti-insurgency campaign with the 6RMG in Negros Occidental.

“Most of the contingents have yet to finish the two-year minimum service in the mobile group,” Cuevas explained.

Neophyte police officers, including graduates of Philippine National Police Academy, are required to render duty for at least two years in mobile groups.