COTABATO CITY — The provincial government of Sultan Kudarat province has rewarded the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion (33IB) with P1 million in cash as incentive for its efforts in the normalization of former armed conflict areas under its jurisdiction.
Lt. Col. Harold M. Cabunoc, 33IB commander, said he received the cash reward from Sultan Kudarat Governor Sultan Pax S. Mangudadatu, in a simple ceremony at the provincial capitol building in Isulan town on Friday.
“I am granting your unit this reward for helping the province address the problem on peace and security, illegal drugs, and terrorism,” Cabunoc quoted Mangudadatu as telling him.
The 33rd IB was the lone recipient of the special cash reward for “excellent operational performance” among security entities fighting “two-pronged wars” against communist and extremist movements coupled with concerns on illegal drugs and other organized crimes in Sultan Kudarat, according to provincial government officials.
“Through people-centered and community development approach in addressing community problems, the Philippine Army has succeeded in the campaign against communist insurgents in the towns of Bagumbayan and Senator Ninoy Aquino of Sultan Kudarat and against the peace spoilers (extremist Moro rebels) in the Liguasan Marsh area,” said Cabunoc in a statement.
Cabunoc said the 33IB was credited for facilitating the surrender of 205 communist rebels, 37 Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFFs), and 41 players of illegal drug syndicates since February 2017 in Sultan Kudarat and parts of Maguindanao.
In addition, the Army battalion defended Datu Paglas town against attack attempts by Islamic State (IS)-inspired combatants, during which the unit seized improvised bombs, he said.
“I am greatly honored to represent soldiers who deserve the accolades for serving the people of Sultan Kudarat with utmost dedication and selflessness. I will ensure that every member of my unit, and also our force multipliers from the PNP, will benefit from this cash reward,” Cabunoc said. (Ali G. Macabalang)