Freeman Region

New Brigade Commander says: Zero-insurgency possible

Juancho R. Gallarde, Judy Flores Partlow - The Freeman

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines — Colonel Allan Martin, the newly-installed commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade, based in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental, declared his optimism that achieving a zero-insurgency status in the province is possible.

Martin, shortly after his installation in yesterday’s turnover rites, told reporters that zero-insurgency may be difficult to achieve but if Bohol was able to do it, then Negros Oriental can do the same.

Martin also hoped that Oriental Negrenses will continue to support the efforts of the military in achieving peace and prosperity in the province. Last month’s declaration of the province as conflict manageable and development ready area was a product of the support from local officials and the public, he said.

The turnover of command ceremony, installing Martin as the new commander of the 302nd IBde replacing Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, was presided by Major Gen. Aurelio Baladad of the 3rd Infantry Division based in Jamindan, Capiz.

When asked about his immediate tasks as brigade commander, Martin said he would do his best to carry on the accomplishments of Patrimonio, who was conferred with many commendations for his work in reducing considerably the number of rebels in the province, resulting in its declaration as a CMDR area.

Martin assured the public that Patrimonio’s activities, programs and projects will be continued, although perhaps in a different manner or approach, saying each commander has a different style of leadership.

Patrimonio, a member of PMA Class 82 like Baladad, will be assigned deputy commander of the 3rd ID, He thanked the troops, civilian officials, various civic groups and non-government organizations, for their full support to the IBde’s programs and projects over the past two years of his administration.

Baladad, in his message, lauded and thanked Patrimonio for the many accomplishments the Army units under the brigade had achieved. He then encouraged Martin to do his best in pursuing the quest for peace and development in Negros Oriental, especially in attaining an insurgency-free province.

In the meantime, government forces still have to deal with a bigger problem of attending to the insurgency problem in the Negros Occidental, Baladad said, adding that the province still has an NPA force to reckon with thus the 302nd IBde must ensure there will be no spillover of rebels into Negros Oriental.

“Our tasks may change, our errands may vary but our mission remains the same, that is to win the peace,” said Baladad during the turnover rites.

Martin said: “I have not much to promise actually, except to do my best to equal if not surpass the achievements of my predecessor. We’ve learned about the accomplishments of Patrimonio, and it’s quite a challenge for me.”

Among those who attended the ceremony were Vice Gov. Mark Macias, top officials of the 3rd ID, the AFP Central Command, local government units, government agencies, civilian groups and the media. (FREEMAN)

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