By Francis Wakefield
Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) Chief Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega Friday urged ground commanders to stay dedicated amid the security challenges they are facing.
Dela Vega made the call during the call of military commanders, key personnel, police officials, and members of the press during the traditional New Year’s Call held at Einsenhower Hall, WestMinCom mansion in Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City at 9:30 a.m. Friday.
More than a hundred military officials, non-commissioned officers, and civilian personnel joined Dela Vega in welcoming Year 2019 with “hope and more determination”.
Military officials and soldiers also renew their commitment and loyalty to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and to its leadership during the traditional call.
“Let us stand steadfast amidst the challenges that come our way during our journey. I encourage everyone to go that extra mile to achieve new heights in our life as soldiers and citizens of the Philippines who are working for peace in this part of the country,” Dela Vega said.
Dela Vega lauded the efforts of the troops and expressed his gratitude to the men and women of the Command for their unflinching determination and resolve that helped the WestMinCom achieve massive feats notwithstanding the threats that it confronts in the joint area of operations.
“We will prioritize the attainment of the breaking point of the communist terrorist groups and their consequent collapse and the decisive defeat of the terrorist groups- the Abu Sayyaf, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and other foreign and local terrorists,” Dela Vega said.
He further urged WestMinCom personnel to continue working with the stakeholders by “utilizing the combined strategic convergence- the AFP’s ‘population-centric’ strategy,” an inclusive measure to defeat threats by means of collective participation.
The WestMinCom chief made mention of the Armed Forces’ preparation to address any eventualities that may arise with regard to the ensuing peace talks and of his hope that political settlement will happen in Mindanao.
He also pledged to uplift the morale and welfare of the troops and the civilian workforce by initiating force protection measures and by innovating existing tactics, techniques, and procedures.
Major General Roseller Murillo, Major General Cirilito Sobejana, Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo, Jr., Colonel Leonel Nicolas, Colonel Camilo Balutan, and Colonel Fernando Reyeg, the commanders of the WestMinCom’s Joint Task Forces, pledged their support and commitment during the traditional call.
Also present were Rear Admiral Rene Medina of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao; Brigadier General Cresenciano Marquez III of the Tactical Operations Wing; Police Chief Superintendent Emmanuel Luis Licup of the Police Regional Office IX; Captain Joseph Coyme of the Coast Guard District, South Western Mindanao; and Senior Superintendent Sydney Besana of the Bureau of Fire Protection IX.