MAJOR General Marion Sison, commander of the 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division of the Philippine Army, has directed the new commanders of the 82nd and 12th Infantry Battalions to work closely with local governments and other groups to end insurgency in Panay Island.
Sison’s order was made when Lieutenant Colonel Jovert Pimentel assumed leadership of the 82nd Infantry Battalion, replacing Colonel Cliford Catubigan, in a ceremony held at Camp Colonel Quintin D. Salas in Janiuay, Iloilo, on February 5, 2024.
At Camp General Ceferino Careon, Calinog, Iloilo, the next day, February 6, Lieutenant Colonel Vicel Jan Garsuta took over as commander of the 12th Infantry (Lick 'Em) Battalion from Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Timbal.
It was Brigadier General Michael Samson, commander of the 301st Infantry Brigade, along with other military leaders and local stakeholders who attended these events to mark the change of command.
Sison praised the outgoing leaders for their hard work and accomplishments, which have helped the battalions and the division get credit.
“The Change of Command Ceremony marked a milestone for the Army Officers in upholding commitment and dedication to the organization. Thus, the Army officers must maintain organizational dynamics and professional growth,” said Sison.
He told the 82IB to work more closely with local governments and other important groups to break up the last few rebel fronts in Panay, which he said was the most dangerous place for communist terrorist groups (CTG) to be.
“We cannot accomplish this mission without the support and collaboration of our stakeholders and local chief executives serving as chairmen of the Local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (Task Force Elcac). It is crucial to coordinate, cooperate, and maintain open communication with our partners, as they play a vital role in helping us bring an end to insurgency in Panay. It is essential to recognize that the resolution of this problem requires not only military action but also the effective implementation of Task Force ELCAC as the best solution," Sison said.
He also pushed for a unified approach that combines military action with the strategic initiatives of the Task Force Elcac, saying this would help solve insurgency problems by involving local leaders and the community.
Sison told Garsuta to go after the weak Central Panay Front, and he emphasized his job by telling him to "finish the fight!"
“That's my first order. Lick the enemy, totally decimate and eradicate them, in coordination with the LGUs, civil society organizations, the private, religious, and the business sectors, to establish just and lasting peace in Panay,” Sison said.
A strong and long-lasting peace in Panay must be worked for by all levels of government, including local governments, civil society, and the business sector, he said. (Leo Solinap/SunStar Philippines)