MAJOR General Ignatius Patrimonio, 11th Infantry “Alakdan” Division (ID) commander, wished the best of luck to Brigadier General Benjamin Batara Jr., 1103rd Infantry Brigade commander, who vowed out of the military service Wednesday, January 25, 2023.

Batara, a member of Philippine Military Academy "Bigkis-Lahi" Class of 1990, joined the 11ID on January 7, 2021 as the commander of 1102nd Infantry Brigade and later on 1103rd Infantry Brigade in Sulu.

Patrimonio said it has been an honor to have Batara as one of those who steered the wheel of command with him to achieve relative peace Sulu has at present.

“Your caliber is indeed at par with standard excellence that propelled the youngest infantry brigade to feats accomplishment amidst the challenges and birth pains. You have accelerated the drastic improvement of peace and security within your Area of Responsibility,” Patrimonio told Batara during the latter’s testimonial parade on Monday, January 23.

“We are honored to have you as our Brigade Commander. Rest assured that your efforts will not be tarnished and forgotten because everyone has witnessed it all. From now on you can enjoy your time with your family and loved ones. Good luck with your retirement," Patrimonio added.

Under the leadership of Batara, the 1103rd Infantry Brigade logged significant accomplishment in their area of operations.

The brigade was conferred as the best brigade by 11ID for calendar year 2022 and the best brigade during the Philippine Army Annual General Inspection for the same year.

During Batara’s stint as the 1103rd Infantry Brigade commander, a total of 71 Abu Sayyaf bandits returned to the fold of the law.

A total of 21 Abu Sayyaf affected villages were cleared in the brigade’s area of responsibility through the conduct of the community support program.

Batara also emphasized the synergy with the local government unit and partner stakeholders during his stint in the conduct of Balik Barangay Program, which benefited a total of 3,106 internally displaced families in the municipality of Patikul, Sulu to return to their respective homes.

“Our efforts really paid off with the influx of Abu Sayyaf Group surrenderers in our Area of Operations. However, we can't accomplish such without the commitment of every soldier and the support of the people of Sulu themselves. As I always say, achieving peace is always a shared responsibility,” Batara said.

"I therefore urged everyone to continue your teamwork and camaraderie in the performance of our mandated tasks. To every soldier, whatever role or function we are in a unit, let's do it with all our best, it always counts toward the overall accomplishment of our missions. Do the best of our service to help the communities in the province of Sulu,” Batara added.

Meanwhile, Colonel Christopher Tampus, 11ID chief of staff, said the testimonial parade and review rendered to Batara was the first time since the activation of the division.

“We also honored him with a testimonial dinner attended by the 11ID commander and Staff,” he said.

Batara has served in the military service for more than three decades. (SunStar Zamboanga)