DAVAO ORIENTAL – A new leadership was ushered in at the 67th Infantry Agila Battalion of the Philippine Army as Lt. Col. Jacob Thaddeus Obligado took over command of the battalion from Lt. Col. Michele Anayron.
During the Change of Command Ceremony at the Battalion’s headquarters in Barangay Salingcomot in Baganga town on January 27, 2017, the new Battalion Commander has vowed to sustain the feats and gains the unit has achieved over the past years.
Lt. Col. Obligado said his leadership will take off from the army’s existing and new strategies on peace campaign — the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan which has now been replaced by the Development Support and Security Plan Kapayapaan – a new campaign wherein the Armed Forces of the Philippines will sustain the peace and internal stability of the country “through sustained military operations to defeat terrorist, support to law enforcement in the campaign against illegal drugs and organized crimes, and actively contribute to peace promotion and nation-building.”
In his message, he talked about several crucial elements in the pursuit of permanent and lasting peace. “These imperatives are respect for human rights, international humanitarian law and the rule of law. Our first imperative is our commitment that soldiers are duty-bound to serve the community’s rights and the laws of the land. It is our responsibility to fulfill these obligations,” he said, stressing that these will be the army’s advocacies to their stakeholders.
For Lt. Col. Obligado these imperatives, once abided not only by the soldiers but also the community, will lead to good citizenship. “A good citizen will always abide by the laws of the land and will not be a headache to the government and community,” he said.
He also emphasized the stakeholders’ active participation in the peace efforts. “Stakeholders engagement means that we cannot perform our tasks and accomplish our mission without the community’s involvement and participation and I can see how Lt. Col. Anayron performed these tasks through participation, collaboration and coordination of all the stakeholders,” he said.
Outgoing Commander Col. Anayron is noted for his initiatives not only in addressing the insurgency problem in his area of responsibility but also in introducing development programs in the communities, which have been accomplished through partnership with all stakeholders – a strategy adopted by his predecessors which he further strengthened and sustained.
Among the celebrated community development projects that he helped to initiate is the construction of four classrooms in Sitio Sunlon, Barangay San Isidro and Sitio Casunungan, Barangay Mahanub, in Baganga town, through partnership with ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya Foundation. He also facilitated the establishment of livelihood projects in some barangays and partnered with various donor organizations that provided sewing machines and bakery set to local schools’ Alternative Learning System Program.
In his message, Col. Anayron bid his “Agila sons and daughters” farewell, saying that the past two years of being assigned to this unit, which has been distinguished for its many accomplishments, has been a blessing.
“I was given the opportunity to command a unit that was trained and transformed into a model Peace and Development Outreach Program-operating unit of the army,” he said, citing one of his predecessors who started this innovation, Col. Reuben Basiao, the new Commander of the Army’s 701st Brigade.
He also cited the Provincial Government and all local government units, as well as the community, for their support in the military’s peace campaign. “The LGUs knew and understood the internal security problem which enabled them to adopt a holistic approach to address it and master the art of maximizing the use of the military as one of their partner agency,” he said.
He capped his message by thanking the top officials of the Provincial Government, First District Representative Cong. Corazon N. Malanyaon and Gov. Nelson L. Dayanghirang, whose participative governance enabled the military to make headway in peace and development in the province.
Cong. Malanyaon lauded the leadership of the outgoing commander and welcomed the new commander, committing her all-out support to the endeavors of the Philippine Army in ensuring the security and welfare of the province’s constituents.
Governor Dayanghirang also expressed his thanks to Lt. Col. Anayron for his awe-inspiring leadership. He cited his efforts in reaching out to previously hard-to-reach areas and the Army’s active involvement in the implementation of the Provincial Government’s flagship program Nagkakaisang Lingkod-Bayan ng Davao Oriental Barangay Outreach Caravan.
Witnessed by officers and men of the battalion and stakeholders in peace and development, the Change of Command Ceremony was presided over by 10th Infantry Division Commander Major General Rafael C. Valencia, who wished both officers the best in their new respective assignments.
“In the implementation of the AFP’s new campaign, I am fully assured that Jake’s ingenuity, initiative, vast experiences and charisma, shall be again of great help in working with other peace and security stakeholders towards meeting these ends. Jake, under your leadership, I entrust 67th IB, the morale and welfare of the Agila troops and their dependents, and the peace and security of various areas within your battalion’s area of responsibility. Give and make the best that you can. The command will always be here to support, direct, supervise and guide you,” said Major General Valencia.
The 67th Infantry Battalion operates in Davao Oriental’s first district and three other municipalities at the province’s boundaries, namely: Linging, Surigao del Sur; Trento, Agusan del Sur; and Compostela, Compostela Valley Province. By Karen Lou Deloso/ Photo by Joel Owano