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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Army ranger assumes military command in Basilan

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Another army ranger took the helm of the military leadership in Basilan on Thursday and vowed a firm security campaign especially in the hunt against the notorious Abu Sayyaf group.
Col. Rolando Joselito Bautista, a seasoned counter-terrorism commander, formally took over the command of the 104th Army Brigade from Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez in a ceremony held at its base in the coastal Barangay of Tabiawan, Isabela City, Basilan. 
Brig. Gen. Gerry Barrientos, chief of the 1st Army Division, presided over the simple military ceremony and vowed the division support to the new leadership of the military to ensure the continuous stability in the island province.
Bautista, prior to his designation as chief of the 104th Brigade, was chief of the Task Force Gensan in General Santos City.
Galvez vacated the post after more than two years in leading the fight against the Abu Sayyaf and the lost command rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). He also initiated economic development in the far flung and formerly militant-infested areas of Sumusip, Tuburan and Al-Barka towns.

Galvez has been designated by the Philippine Army as head of the Philippine government's Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities after his peace initiatives in reaching out to his MILF counterpart and his work in Basilan. 
“My advise to my successor is to just to be firm in the campaign, hidi pabayaan ang Basilan and give his best,” Galvez told Bautista whom he described as his buddy as both were members of the Philippine Military Academy class 1985. 
Galvez said the island province has been in relative peace now except in areas of Al-Barka and Tuburan areas that need the continuous security campaigns to back the government’s development programs.
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