CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Department of Education, students, parents and other Pangasinense folks unveiled the memorabilia of late 2nd Lieutenant Jose Bandong Jr on Tuesday, June 11 in Urbiztondo Private High School in Pangasinan.
Bandong hailed from Brgy. Dalaguiring, Urbiztondo, Pangasinan, and is one of the five children of Jose and Edna Bandong. For his primary and secondary education, he attended Dalaguiring Integrated School and Urbiztondo Private High School.
The ceremony was part of AFP’s project entitled “Medal for Valor Recognition.” It aims to highlight the heroism of Medal for Valor awardees and to instil patriotism and nationalism among the young people.
The activity was attended by Lieutenant General Salvador Melchor Mison Jr, AFP Vice Chief of Staff, Major General Bienvenido Datuin Jr, Civil Relations Service, AFP Commander, Mr Julius C Doria, Principal of Urbiztondo Private High School and Mrs Luisa Bandong, wife of the honoree.
The Pangasinense hero distinguished himself for his acts of conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as the platoon leader under the 24th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army who died saving his men from certain death on April 10, 1992, in the boundaries of Sagada and Bontoc.
Bandong and his men engaged guerrillas belonging to the New People’s Army’s Chadli Molintas Command and later forced the NPA fighters to withdraw. Bandong’s 35-man unit was preparing to leave the area when one of their teams which was sent ahead to secure the route was suddenly ambushed by NPA reinforcements.
No sooner had the unit linked up again when another group of NPA fighters also showed and began firing at them. In the six-hour gunfight, Bandong was hit with a bullet to the left shoulder.
Based on the accounts of the officers, Bandong later called his troops manning the artillery and gave his final orders: “Fire on my location” as his last resort to save his men and to wipe out the enemy.
His supreme sacrifice of which he earned a posthumous Medal of Valor no doubt saved the lives of his men.