MAASIM, Sarangani (October 1, 2010) – Called by the communities aspeacemaker, Lt. Col. Edgardo De Leon relinquished his post ascommander of the 73rd Infantry Battalion in a change of commandceremony Thursday (September 30).De Leon was called “the peacemaker” in communities where his troopsconducted medical missions and civic action.
“He has performed beyond our expectations,” 10th Infantry DivisionCommander Major General Jorge Segovia, guest of honor, said.
“He has been a very successful battalion commander and an asset to the division, and most importantly, he did not fail the people of Sarangani and has promoted the unity in diversity and the people’s peaceful co-existence,” Segovia said.
Governor Migs Dominguez commended De Leon and his troops “for making our people sleep soundly at night”.
The governor recalled 73rd IB’s arrival in the province two years ago when the province was in social disturbance particularly the town ofMaasim which was attacked by lawless members of the Moro IslamicLiberation Front (MILF).
Just hours later, the troops conducted a clearing operation in the mountains of Pananag to run after the perpetrators.
“Peace doesn’t only mean the silencing of our guns,” Dominguez said.
“We, leaders teach our community the value of sincerity, educate them,and teach them to love. Most importantly, we were able to bring backthe trust of the people and rebuild the communities.”
“You really changed the image of the old soldier feared by children,”Dr. Ruel Cagape of the Hearts and Brains said.
The Hearts and Brainsand Sarangani Kalinaw Unit are among the partners of the 73rd IB inmedical missions and community outreach programs.
De Leon was commended by officials for his outstanding administrative and operational performances, upholding the morale of his troops,intelligence and security operations and accomplishments, and evenmanaging the camp facilities.
The 73rd (Neutralizer) IB received the Presidential Unit CitationBadge after its security operations in Maguindanao in the midst of astate of martial law to run after the suspects responsible for thePhilippines’ largest media killing November last year.
“When I assumed this post two years ago, I envisioned the battalion toremain as highly disciplined (soldiers) with the highest degree ofexcellence,” De Leon said.
“Allow me to honor our troops who defended Sarangani in the midst of community disturbances. Each and every infantry man has been very important in accomplishing our mission. Thank you for not allowing ourlimitations to stop us. Showing our people our services and extendedour accomplishments even to Palimbang (Sultan Kudarat), there is noreason to rebel,” De Leon added.
De Leon will assume office as assistant chief of staff for operations(G3) at the 10th ID headquarters in Panacan, Davao City.
“Rest assured that I will try to boot all my best to this battalionwith optimism,” Major Adolfo Espuelas said. Espuelas assumed De Leon’spost as the new battalion commander.“I’ve seen synergy at work and I see Sarangani to be the next bigthing in Mindanao,” Espuelas said.
“We can win without firing a singleshot. I believe everything ends up in the negotiating table.” (RusstumG. Pelima/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)