CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – Troopers of the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division joins the simple and unique celebration of the Philippine Army’s 123rd Founding Anniversary with the theme, “123 Years of Gallantry and Dedication in Serving the People and Securing the Land” held at the 4ID grandstand, Camp Evangelista, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City early this morning, March 23, 2020.

Veering away from its traditional lined up activities during anniversary celebrations, today’s 123rd Founding Anniversary of the Philippine Army is done only highlighting the simultaneous flag raising ceremony thru the Army’s inter-unit communication equipment via live streaming video facilitated by the Headquarters, Philippine Army and participated in by its major units deployed nationwide. After rendering honors to the nation, army personnel reaffirmed their oath of allegiance to the nation and the people they serve.

LtGen Gilbert I Gapay AFP, Commanding General of the Philippine Army, in his message, “By patriotism, the Philippine Army has evolved from its humble beginnings to become the reliable and effective force that it is today: from our fight to freedom until this day against hybrid threats, and man-made and natural calamities. In all these battles of the past 123 years, the Philippine Army has been the embodiment of patriotism – of honor, and duty. Let us work towards realizing our vision of becoming a world-class Army that is a source of national pride.”

The Philippine Army traces its roots during the Filipino-Spanish war. The Philippine Army was established during the time when Emilio Aguinaldo was elected President of the Philippine Revolutionary Government at the Tejeros Convention on March 22, 1897 in Tejeros, San Francisco de Malabon in Cavite. Artemio Ricarte was elected to lead the army and designated as Captain General of the Ejercito en la Republica de las Islas Filipinas or the Army of the Philippine Republic.

MGen Franco Nemesio M Gacal AFP, Commander of 4ID, said, “The 123rd Founding Anniversary of the Army is celebrated in a simple but meaningful way, as we are reminded of our service – to selflessly serve the people of Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions.” “This is also the time for us to look back and recognize our fellow soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice, offering their lives, for us to attain the freedom and democracy we are experiencing now,” Gacal added.

“As we are faced with a different kind of threat, the outbreak of this pandemic CoViD-19, let me assure the public that your diamond soldiers will adhere to its constitutional mandate of protecting the people and the state. We will serve the people in accordance with the rule of law, respect to human rights and the observation of the international humanitarian law. We will surpass this epidemic endangering the lives of everybody, with the collaborative efforts of the different agencies of the government and the cooperation of the community, we will succeed,” Gacal ended.

The flag raising ceremony and oath of allegiance activity were conducted inside camp observing the DOH safety and health protocols of social distancing to ensure safety among the participating diamond troopers.