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MALAYBALAY CITY (Feb. 10) – Col. Ferdinand Barandon was officially installed as the new commander of the Philippine Army’s 403rd Infantry Peacemaker Brigade in a change of command held on Feb. 10 at the Headquarters of 403rd Brigade, here.
Col. Barandon replaced Brigadier General Edgardo de Leon, who was assigned at the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as deputy chief-of-staff for civil-military operations.
In his acceptance message, Col. Barandon urged members of the Peacemaker team to continue to press on with the fight to end the local communist armed conflict while leaving the door for reconciliation open for more rebels to rejoin the mainstream society.
“We shall continue the momentum of our campaign and bring the fight in the guerilla bases,… we shall also protect our gains by continuously and steadfastly shielding the people and their communities who were previously radicalized by CTG (communist terrorist group),” he said.
Admitting that the army cannot do the fight against insurgency alone, Col. Barandon implored all 403rd Brigade stakeholders and partners to collaborate and continuously fuel their enthusiasm and trailblazing efforts on ending local communist armed conflict through the regional and local task forces.
Meanwhile, BGen. De Leon expressed gratitude to all the partners of the Brigade for making the convergence efforts against the CTG in his area of operations a success. “Your trust and confidence have driven me to persevere against the many challenges of a brigade commander,” he said.
He also reminded them to always make convergence efforts on the delivery of services a reality, to prevent the CTG from getting back the people’s sympathy.
The turnover ceremony was presided by Major General Franco Nemesio Gacal, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, based in Cagayan de Oro.
In his message, Gacal instructed Col. Barandon to sustain the gains, especially in the whole-of-nation campaign.
“Continue to be responsive on the peace and security needs of our constituents, I want you to lead all efforts to ensure physically and psychologically safe and secure environment conducive to economic development,” he said.
He also directed Col. Barandon to maximize utilizing all the ground units under the 403rd Brigade to pursue peace and development initiatives and address the root causes of conflict in their area of operations.
Moreover, he told him to support the implementation of the Enhanced Comprehensive Integration Program (E-CLIP) and other integration mechanisms available so that those who wish to surrender will be given a chance. However, he reminded him to be relentless in dislocating, isolating, disintegrating and destroying those who continue to challenge the government. (Apipa P. Bagumbaran/PIA-10)