BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 18 -- Officers and personnel of the 402nd Infantry "Stingers" Brigade, Philippine Army welcomed the newly designated commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Major General Jose Calingasan Faustino, Jr. for his visit in Barangay Bancasi, this city on February 8.
This was his first field visit to a Brigade in the EastMinCom area of responsibility (AOR) since his assumption as the 12th commander of the EastMinCom last January 25.
Prior to his designation, MGen. Faustino was the commander of the 10th Infantry (Agila) Division where he led various operations that resulted in the dismantling of different New People's Army (NPA) units in Regions 11 and 12. He also served as the former head of the 11th Intelligence Service Unit based in Davao City and led the 35th Infantry Battalion and 501st Infantry Brigade.
The Army officer was welcomed with a military arrival honors led by 402nd Brigade commander, Brigadier General Maurito L. Licudine, together with Police Brigadier General Joselito S. Esquivel, Jr., regional director of the Police Regional Office 13 and the commanding officers of the OPCON Battalions and commanders from tenant and attached units.
During his visit, MGen. Faustino lauded the accomplishments of the 402nd Brigade during the campaign updates provided by the unit from January to December 2019 wherein a total of 98 combat operations were conducted resulting in 80 encounters against the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army Terrorists (CNTs) in guerilla bases and engagement areas.
The traditional signing of guest book and a viewing of some of the captured, confiscated, surrendered and recovered (CCSR) firearms of the Brigade during the successful combat operations that neutralized CNTs in the region were also part of the highlights of the event.
A ceremonial tree planting activity was also conducted and led by MGen. Faustino together with PBGen. Esquivel.
In his message, MGen. Faustino stressed the importance of properly performing the tasks and emphasized the participation of the AFP units in the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC) in view of the Executive Order No. 70 as a solution for the more than five decades of insurgency problem in the country.
"We are optimistic of the security situation in our country. We have gained significant headways but the challenge is how we can sustain our efforts. Hence, we need to perform our tasks 100 percent and contribute to our campaign in our own little ways. Our job is to protect the people and secure the land," he said.
Meanwhile, BGen. Licudine said that the visit of the top commander of the whole Eastern Mindanao Command is a big boost to the morale of the troops, particularly in the pursuit to end the insurgency problem in Caraga.
"We will perform in accordance with the guidance of the commander of the EastMinCom particularly in our participation to the TF-ELCAC in sustaining the peace and security in Caraga region," he said. (402nd Infantry Brigade, Phil. Army/PIA-Caraga)