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Monday, June 17, 2024
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HomeDNX DefenseSpecial Coverage | Tip of the Spear where the road ends: Army’s...

Special Coverage | Tip of the Spear where the road ends: Army’s 3ID marks half a century of fighting for Filipinos in the Visayas

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Part 1

CAMP PERALTA, Jamindan, Capiz – Inside this camp at the end of the road to the left of the main one in Jaena Norte village here that now cuts across a crowded community, the early morning air was silent.

Then shots rang out.

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It was around 6:45am inside this military camp named after a Filipino general who led Filipinos against the invading foreign force of the Japanese in the Second Great War.

Amid the looming Madia-as mountain range once imagined by Communist insurgents as the Sierra Madre of Panay from which their armed force will defeat the government in this island, Major General Marion Sison leads the 50th anniversary of the Third Infantry Division as its 39th commander here on a balmy Thursday morning amid a heat index forecast of 47 degrees, one of the highest under the El Niño weather event of 2024.

awarded armies

Fire! Fire! Fire! the firing commander gave the instructions for the soldiers to fire the gun salutes as honor guards in front of the memorial raised their M1 Garands in tanghal or salute position.

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The shots from the R4 carbines cracked as Sison stood at attention and saluted before the memorial torch while grieving relatives of some of the dead troopers looked on.

A lone soldier in themarching band played the Taps on his trumpet as birds chirped overhead in the trees lining the 33,000 hectare military reservation.

army at capiz 1

“Hundreds of lives of our soldiers have been lost to defend our freedoms,” Sison said as he pointed out that the achievements of the division were built on the ultimate sacrifices of soldiers and on what past commanders have done.

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Data from the Division showed the Army has cleared guerrilla fronts to enable seven out of 10 provinces in the Visayas to place these under Stable Internal Peace and Security status.

Sison said he is happy with what Army units in the Visayas islands have achieved under his leadership as he pointed out that they are still exerting efforts to clear all Communist terrorist remnants.

army flag

Like the general for which the camp is named after, Marion Sison also oversees a ground war against a weakened insurgent force in 10 provinces where the NPA once held sway, an enemy that, like the Japanese, is also foreign in thought, gripped by a philosophy that has turned Filipinos into avowed enemies of the State wanting to bring down the Filipino way of life.

The soldier to them is a kaaway, an enemy for men, women, children who have embraced the culture of hate for what has now become a terrorist armed group seemingly consumed by an insatiable desire to kill and a party once thought ideological but has now become nothing more than a syndicate bent on raking in money, insiders and former cadres have observed.

army ceremony

Today, after a line of 39 commanders and countless soldiers killed, there appears to be a reversal of fortune for the self-styled Maoist rebels whose forces are now on the decline in both countryside and urban areas.

“They lost their cause,” Lieutenant General Roy Garido, commander of the Philippine Army told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony at the grandstand here held to honor soldiers and stakeholders and to celebrate the Division’s successes.

flosemer

Garido, who has commanded divisions of the Army before becoming its commanding general, said “good governance” came and deprived the rebels of a reason as he pointed out that the remaining one for the persistence of the CPP to exist could only be the “personal interests” of its leaders.

Lawyer Flosemer Gonzales, spokesman of the inter-agency End Local Communist Armed Conflict Council in Region 6, said the CPP will fight “tooth and nail” to preserve its non profits that have become fronts for terrorist financing, some of which in the Visayas have already been charged for violation of the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act, a 2012 law that has increasingly been used since President Duterte reshaped the anti Communist campaign using a whole of nation and whole of government approach.

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Julius D. Mariveles
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.
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