(Published in The Philippine Star)
MANILA, Philippines - Maj. Gen. Raul del Rosario, the Air Force officer who discovered Chinese military structures on Panganiban (Mischief) Reef in 1994, will wear two stars on his shoulder starting today.
The Armed Forces deputy chief of staff for plans has been promoted and will be honored in ceremonies in Camp Aguinaldo, along with Brig. Gen. Guillermo Molina Jr., the incoming Western Command (WESCOM) deputy chief who has been promoted to one-star general.
Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr is expected to preside over the ceremonies.
Del Rosario, a member of Philippine Military Academy “Maharlika” class of 1984, is a recipient of The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS) 2011 award.
He is also a recipient of two Distinguished Service Stars and four Bronze Cross Medals.
He was cited for his intelligence and counter-intelligence operations, particularly his reconnaissance missions in 1994 where he sighted Chinese military installations on Mischief Reef and Kalayaan Islands.
Del Rosario provided photographs of a Chinese flotilla in battle formation in Philippine territory in 1997. It forced China to withdraw the ships.
He also oversaw a mission leading to the killing of Abu Sayyaf subcommander Bader Parad, along with five other terrorists.
Molina is the outgoing deputy commander of the Air Education and Training Command. He is a graduate of PMA “Sinagtala” class of 1986.
He was the assistant chief of air staff for plans and commander of Tactical Operations Group 5.
Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said promotions are part of a soldier’s progressive military career.
“The new star on their shoulder represents a bigger responsibility,” he said.
Chinese structures were initially constructed on stilts in Panganiban Reef, supposedly to provide shelter for fishermen. These were later converted into a military garrison with powerful radars.
Panganiban is about 130 nautical miles off Palawan. China has occupied it since 1995.