Ilocano named one of Ten Outstanding Philippine Soldiers

Sep 29, 2015 ...

Governor Imee R. Marcos commends Master Sergeant Arnel Guerrero Cariaga
who hails from Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte for being cited as one of the Ten
Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS) of 2015.

On September 3, 2015, Cariaga together with nine other Philippine
soldiers received the award at Metrobank Plaza Auditorium, Makati City.

“Aside from participation in military intelligence operations,
continuous community development contribution and extraordinary
innovation are important factors to be recognized as an outstanding
soldier,” said Cariaga during a phone interview.

Governor Imee R. Marcos noted that the province of Ilocos Norte is proud
of Cariaga for upholding the leadership, heroism and excellence inherent
to every Ilocano.

_“Kakaiba ang galing ni Apo Sergeant Cariaga at itinuturing na natin
siya ngayong bagong modelo para sa ating kasundaluan lalung-lalo na sa
ating mga kabataan,”_ said Governor Imee.

While he did not expect to receive the award, Cariaga is grateful for
the support of Governor Marcos and the entire province of Ilocos Norte.

“Firstly, I dedicate this award to my fellow Ilocanos. Through this, I
renew my commitment in supporting the government and to strive for
excellence in work for the greater benefit of our community in Ilocos
Norte and the whole nation,” said Cariaga.

With both of his parents Ilocano, Cariaga revealed that he was able to
survive all the challenges as a soldier because “Ilocanos are
naturally persevering, committed and stoic.”

Growing up in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte, he wanted to become an engineer
when he was a child instead of being a soldier.

“Wala sa ambisyon ko ang magsundalo. Noong nag-aaral ako sa Pasuquin,
ang gusto ko talaga ay maging licensed electronics and communication
engineer,” revealed Cariaga.

However, with dedication and hard work, Cariaga has achieved his dream
of becoming an engineer while serving in the military.

As a radio technician, he was able to contribute to the operations of
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) by manufacturing inexpensive VHF
Radio Repeaters which are used during intelligence activities to
neutralize lawless elements.

He has also been cited for his innovation in developing “a system that
is now used to enhance situation awareness especially during
military’s disaster and relief operations in the wake of natural
calamities.”

Currently a part of the Geospatial Intelligence Group of AFP, Cariaga
was deployed in a United Nations National Command in South Korea to help
stabilize peace and security in the Korean peninsula.

Most importantly, Cariaga is also engaged in community development with
his project dubbed as ‘Kalkal’ where he collected segregated
recyclable materials.

“From selling the collection, I was able to help the G2 Village in
Makati to finance the improvement of the barangay’s street
pavements,” he said.

Cariaga who is now in 27 years of military service encourages young
Ilocanos to join AFP.

“I know Ilocanos will have more innovative and great ideas that they
can contribute to AFP which will help us preserve the peace and security
and contribute to the building and development of our nation,” he
highlighted.

Now on its 16th year, TOPS is the highest civilian award given to
military personnel which seeks to recognize the courage and nationalism
of modern-day heroes in the military. The award is conferred by the
Metrobank Foundation together with AFP and Rotary Club of
Makati.

by John Michael Mugas



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