DAVAO ORIENTAL – The Philippine Army will continue its active role in peace and development efforts here in the province through strengthened partnerships with the provincial government and other stakeholders, says the new commander of the Philippine Army’s 701st Brigade.
Col. Reuben Basiao assumed command of the Philippine Army’s 701st Brigade from Brigadier General Bienvenido R. Datuin Jr. during the Change of Command Ceremony on January 20, 2017 at the 701st Brigade Headquarters in the City of Mati.
“As I assume command of this brigade, I am fully aware of the challenges and expectations of the various security stakeholders. The partnerships in this province has been continually quoted as one of the models of the peace and development initiatives of the army,” Col. Basiao said as he accepted the brigade’s command, vowing to sustain the army’s already established partnerships with various stakeholders and to keep up the momentum in peace and development efforts.
The 701st Brigade, along with its two battalions, have been actively involved in all peace and development programs in the province that made significant impacts in the communities, ushering the province to a development-ready state as declared by the military.
Outgoing commander Brigadier General Datuin who has been noted for his leadership that bolstered peace and development in the province, highlighted the role of strengthened partnership and collaboration during his stint as the Brigade Commander.
“The complete unconditional support I gained from the local government units – from the barangay, municipalities to provincial level – were outstanding, exceptional and a template of how convergence among stakeholders should be – no star players, only role players and model workers,” said Datuin in his farewell message. He said he is happy to have worked in Davao Oriental — ‘a champion province that takes pride in team work, cooperation and collaboration with all sectors of society’.
During his stint as brigade commander, Datuin stepped up efforts to boost the already thriving peace and development here. Aside from that, he implemented several significant initiatives which include the first-ever Bayanihan Investment Protection and Security Operations (BIPSO) here and the establishment of the Ugnayan Center which serves as a debriefing and holding area for former rebels before admitted to the halfway house called Happy Home.
Recognized for his active role in the implementation of the government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) and the Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP), he received the Gawad sa Kaunlaran Award in 2016 conferred by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte. He also received a Command Plaque from the Army Reservist Command for reviving and activating the military reservists that significantly helped in security efforts.
Presiding over the change of command ceremony, Major General Angelito De Leon, Commander of the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, have cited Datuin’s leadership and the 701st brigade’s achievements that made headway on peace in this part of the country.
“I am proud to say that the best practices of this brigade serve as a model and an example to us in Central Luzon to emulate, especially the partnership with the stakeholders that this brigade has been espousing,” he said. “It is indeed worthy of praise and recognition,” he added.
Towards Strengthening Peace
The brigade’s new commander, Col. Basiao, shared his enthusiasm about working with the province’s stakeholders whom he had the chance to work with in the past when he was still the battalion commander of one of the brigade’s unit, the 67th Infantry Battalion.
“I am more than happy to be given the opportunity to serve again the people of this province and to renew the partnerships the inter-agency coordination and the synergy that we started four years ago,” he said. Prior to his installation as brigade commander, Basiao served as the Philippine Defense and Armed Forces Attaché in Thailand.
In his message, Basiao reminded the men that are now under his command to preserve and cherish the people’s trust to them. “Let us be reminded though that the support of our people is conditional. To the Philippine Army we will lose the support if our actions are not favorable and not aligned to the sentiments of the people of this province. Hence, we should maintain, if not, heighten the momentum of our successes in this part of the country. We shall continue to become creative in our approaches. We have to adapt, if not, reconfigure plans and programs to cater to our changing operational environment. We have to be responsive to the security requirements to include the sentiments of the people of this province,” he said. “They have repeatedly quest for a long-lasting peace. Let us not fail them. Let us all have a selfless commitment to serve and attain the elusive and enduring peace in this province,” he added.
Banking on the collaboration of all stakeholders, Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang said he looks forward to work with the new commander. “We believe in your capacity to bring sustainable and meaningful peace and security to our province. We shall lead the quest for peace and security. Let us roll up our sleeves and pitch in,” he said.
Former Governor, now First District Representative Cong. Corazon N. Malanyaon, lauded the military for their sterling performance in the pursuit for peace. She cited the previous and present leaders of the military here who, together with the provincial government, pursued undertakings that helped made Davao Oriental a model and the most benchmarked province in terms of peace and development.
Aside from provincial government leaders, Friday’s ceremony also saw the attendance of top officials from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Present during the ceremony are Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), who in the past also served as commander of the 701st Brigade; 10th Infantry Division Commander, Major General Rafael C. Valencia; and 7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Angelito De Leon who presided over the change of command ceremony. By Karen Lou Deloso/ Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan