CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – The battalion commander of the Army unit which neutralized one of the most notorious NPA leaders in Southern Tagalog has relinquished his command on Thursday following his designation as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations of the 2nd Infantry Division.
Lt Col Christopher Diaz, who completed his tour of duty as Commanding Officer of the 80th Infantry (Steadfast) Battalion, expressed his “heartfelt gratitude to the people of Rizal, Laguna and Quezon for the collaboration” during a ceremony presided by Major General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, Commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, held at Baras, Rizal.
In his speech, MGen Burgos congratulated Lt Col Diaz for “being steadfast in accomplishing every Jungle Fighter’s mandate as advocates of peace, servants of the people and defenders of Southern Tagalog.”
He added that “his designation as G3 is a testament to the amount of trust that I have in his capabilities to deliver the decisive blows to finally end communist insurgency in this part of the country.”
According to military records, 80IB was organized in 2003 and was initially designated as the AFP’s Quick Reaction Force in NCR. It was then transferred to Mindoro where it played a crucial role in the government’s counterinsurgency campaign before it was deployed as the country’s peacekeeping unit in Golan Heights that defended the United Nation’s Position 68 in the contested border against the attacks of Syrian Rebel Forces in 2013.
Upon its return to the country, the battalion was deployed in the Province of Rizal where it neutralized key NPA personalities like Armando Lazarte alias Pat Romano in Antipolo City on December 2019.
“Those accomplishments have put 2ID in the position of dismantling the few remaining NPA Fronts, thus, we can say that you played a critical role when peace was finally won, development has been achieved and prosperity became a way of life in Southern Tagalog”, said MGen Burgos as he lauds his troops for a job well done.
A military medal was conferred to Lt Col Diaz “for his exemplary performance of duty in a position of major responsibility” which was highlighted by “the neutralization of NPA leaders, forging of strategic partnerships with the civilian sector and active involvement in the President’s directive to end local communist armed conflict thereby pushing insurgency in this part of the country on the brink of irreversible collapse”, read the award’s citation.
In his speech, Lt Col Diaz expressed his gratitude to the 2nd Infantry Division’s leadership for the trust and confidence that they have bestowed upon him.
“My time as a battalion commander is, by far, the best tour of duty that I had in my years of service” added Lt Col Diaz before rendering his final report of “mission accomplished” to the presiding officer.
Change of Command Ceremony is a time-honored military tradition that mandates the formal transfer of authority to ensure continuity of efforts as responsibility and accountability is passed from one officer to another.
MGen Burgos assured the people of Rizal and Quezon as well as the troops of the 80th IB that their former commander is being replaced by “an equally capable officer in the person of Lt Col Rimrad Feraer.”
“Rimrad, I hope that you will be able to make a difference in the lives of the people of Rizal and Quezon. I am expecting so much from you, we are expecting so much from you”, ended MGen Burgos.
For his part, Lt Col Feraer pledged to do everything to live up to the standards of his predecessors and retain the tradition of excellence that the 80th Infantry Battalion is very much known for.
The newly designated battalion commander is a member of Philippine Military Academy Class of 1996 and has recently completed the Command and General Staff Course from the AFP Education, Training and Doctrine Command in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
80IB is the third unit of 2ID to welcome a new commander in three days.
MGen Burgos was the fourth Commanding Officer of the 80th Infantry Battalion. The unit was deployed in Occidental Mindoro when he was at its helm.