Kagitingan Brigade Honors Key Partners, Lists Feats on Peace Efforts at 10th Anniversary

Brigadier General Reuben Basiao hands over a memento to Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang at the 701st Brigade’s 10th Anniversary.

DAVAO ORIENTAL – As the province basks on its triumph over insurgency, the Philippine Army’s 701st Kagitingan Brigade based in Davao Oriental celebrated its achievements by honoring soldiers and valued stakeholders who contributed immensely towards the goal of achieving lasting peace and development.

In time for its 10th Reactivation Anniversary on Friday, September 21, the Brigade gave recognition to military officers and enlisted personnel and others who have displayed courage, heroism and leadership during military operations and activities that crippled down the operations of the New People’s Army rebels. Also awarded were a reservist, auxiliary personnel, personnel from the police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and civilian stakeholders.

However, highlighted on Friday’s awarding ceremony were the 14 People’s Organizations formed through the military-led Community Support Program (CSP). Most of these organizations were formerly linked to Underground Mass Organizations which have now been transformed into productive, self-sustaining farmers’ organizations.

Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, who has given immense support to the military, was also given recognition because of his various peace and development programs such as the Nagkakaisang Lingkod-Bayan ng Davao Oriental Barangay Outreach Caravan and the strengthened and sustained operation of the Provincial Government-run halfway house for former rebels called the Happy Home.

RUNDOWN OF FEATS

Aside from highlighting the role of key stakeholders, 701st Brigade Commander Brigadier General Reuben Basiao listed the achievements of his Brigade over the past year.

Brigadier General Reuben Basiao

“This was actually the continuation of our efforts to clear the barangays in our area of responsibility after the massive recovery efforts of the NPA during the unilateral ceasefire in 2016,” he said.

The campaign which has started on the clearing of the borders resulted to the recovery of areas formerly occupied by the rebels in Lingig, Boston and Cateel. He said that this was the advent of the decline of guerilla fronts and dismantling of the leftist organizations. He added that the army has “significantly downgraded the efforts of the NPA due to a significant number of surrendered personnel, the dismantling of their mass-based organizations and the reduction of the firearms through Focused Military Operations.”

For these achievements, BGen Basiao lauded the efforts of the 67th, 28th and 66th Infantry Battalions as well as the “sustained and synchronized efforts of the 1001st Brigade which operates in the adjacent municipality of Compostela Valley Province.”

Commanders of the 66th, 28th and 67th Infantry Battalions, respectively. (From L to R) LTC Palmer Parungao, LTC Miguel Ramon, and LTC Jacob Thaddeus Obligado.

All these significant feats in maintaining peace and security in Davao Oriental and the border barangays of Compostela Valley Province led to the Kagitingan Brigade being a recipient to the “CSAFP Kapayapaan Plaque” awarded recently by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself and the “Gawad sa Kalinaw Plaque” from the Eastern Mindanao Command.

BGen Basiao accepts the Kapayapaan Plaqued handed over by President Rodrigo Duterte (FILE PHOTO Courtesy of EASTMINCOM)

Meanwhile, BGen Basiao vowed to sustain these significant gains. “For the last quarter of this year, the brigade will continue to deny the enemy, tear down their guerilla bases, and push them towards our constriction area which we have already identified.”

He added that as the military continues to pressure the enemy, the government shall maintain an open-door policy to those who will choose to return to the folds of the law. “The Provincial Happy Home Processing Center to the former rebels, the first and only one of its kind nationwide is more than ready to accommodate those that prefer this peaceful option.”

Aside from that, he vowed to continue to pursue local peace initiatives by addressing the local issues of the conflict-prone areas through the Provincial Government-led programs.

“We shall continue to strengthen our partnership with other stakeholders to create conflict-resilient communities as we said to be key in sustained peace and development within our AOR. As we celebrate the 10th Reactivation Anniversary of this brigade let us use this occasion to rededicate ourselves to the challenge of serving our people and securing Davao Oriental and Comval against any form of security threats,” he added.  

He also reminded the members of the Kagitingan troopers “to remain steadfast and committed to our vision for a competent and professional unit well-loved by the people and viable partners for peace and progress in this part of the country.”

For his part, Governor Dayanghirang who was the guest of honor and speaker, also vowed to strengthen Provincial Government-led programs on peace and development.

Governor Nelson Dayanghirang

In his message, he congratulated the Brigade for its inspiring and significant feats. “We salute your extraordinary will to win, your strength of character to go into battle believing that the cause is just and has the full support of our people. This brigade has proven that with the commitment to serve our people, we can overcome the many obstacles that stand in our way,” the Governor said.

Esteemed guests during the 701st Brigade Anniversary

Also extending their congratulations to the Brigade are government and military officials who graced the event. Among them are 7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Felimon Santos, 10th ID Commander Major General Noel Clement, and Compostela Valley Province Governor Jayvee Tyrone Uy. By Karen Lou Deloso/Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan

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