The Philippine Marines yesterday gave slain Negrense Cpl. Freddie Castellano Jr. full military honors during his burial at a cemetery in La Carlota City, Negros Occidental.
Castellano, a resident of La Castellana, died with six other Marine troopers, some of whom were beheaded, after a clash with Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu, on July 28.
Military records show that Castellano is the second Marine trooper from Negros Occidental since 2007, to be victimized by the barbarism of the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
Marine commandant, Maj. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, hailed Castellano and the six other slain Marine troopers as “heroes.”
Castellano was accorded a 21-gun salute while his casket was being lowered to his final resting place.
In recognition for their valiant efforts to defend and uphold the Constitution and sovereignty of the Philippines, President Benigno Aquino III awarded the Gold Cross Medal for Gallantry in Action and promoted Castellano and the six other slain Marine soldiers to the next higher rank posthumously.
The Gold Cross Medal for Gallantry in Action is the second highest honor, next only to the Medal of Valor, that can be bestowed upon a soldier in recognition for his or her sacrifice and efforts to uphold the law.
Each Marine’s family also received financial assistance, scholarships for their children, and housing privileges, the military said.*GPB