CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – The 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division recently kicked- off the celebration of the Philippine Army’s 122nd Year last March 20,2019 at the Centrio Ayala Mall in Cagayan de Oro City. Key military officials of the Army’s main ground force in Northern Mindanao, local government officials and other stakeholders graced the opening of the two-day activity featuring static and kinetic displays, audio visual presentations, recruitment booth, rappelling, modified obstacle course, free blood pressure test, weapons and ammunition display and peace concert.

Hundreds of local folks showed their support and joined the opening salvo of this year’s celebration dubbed “122 Years of Heroism: Serving the People, Securing the Land”. Various units of the Philippine Army to include the elite Scout Rangers and Special Forces as well as the Mechanized and Artillery Battalions put their capabilities on display to the delight of the spectators. For young and people alike, it was their chance to see and mingle with their local heroes. Army units are seen as instrumental in bringing about peace and development in the region hence the high trust and confidence accorded to them by the people. This year’s celebration also aims to recognize the men and women behind the uniform who have been tirelessly working to help in bringing about lasting peace and sustainable socio-economic development in Northern Mindanao. Aside from honoring the Filipino soldier, the celebration was also meant to keep all citizens onboard the Philippine Army’s capability and organizational development efforts as it pursues its vision to become a world class Army that is a source of national pride.

In his Welcome Remarks, Colonel Biňa acknowledged and welcomed the guests and visitors. Biňa said, “Everyone is very much welcome to this event. The Centrio Mall, Ayala Land will always extend its full support to the programs of the government, especially to the Philippine Army, throughout the year. We are gladly doing this for us to assist them (the Army) in their projects, to connect the Army to the people of Cagayan de Oro City and as our simple appreciation to all the Filipino soldiers of their sacrifices. We are encouraging the people to join us, let us visit Centrio Mall, watch and enjoy the activities as we celebrate with the Army in their 122nd Year Anniversary.

Juciele Pacturan, a 13-year old student from the Misamis Oriental Government Comprehensive High School who participated in the activity gave her heartflet appreciation to the Army. “I am thankful that you are protecting us, we’ve seen your sacrifices in fighting the terrorists in order to save this country from the bad people. The soldiers are so good and very respectful. They are helping the poor and maintained peace in our communities and I am very proud of them”.

On the other hand, Brigadier General Tyne T Baňas, the Assistant Division Commander, delivered his anniversary message giving emphasis on the recognition of the remarkable services rendered by the men and women of the Philippine Army. “Let us look back with pride at our achievements for the past years and look forward to more success in the coming years.” BGen Baňas also added that “Soldiers above all others pray for peace, for it is the soldier who will suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war”. He further shares a quote from the Holy Bible on James chapter 1 verse 25 saying “Whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues it-not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it-they will be blessed in what they do”. BGen Baňas further added.

Meanwhile, Major General Franco Nemesio M Gacal, Commander 4th ID said, “The 122nd Philippine Army Anniversary is a testament to the productive services and the sacrifices of all the 4th ID soldiers in Northern Mindanao and CARAGA. It is a fitting reminder to everyone that freedom does not always come free- it was paid by the blood, sweat and tears of our brave heroes. Today, we do not only look back at what we have achieved but also look forward in building sustainable partnerships for peace and development. We are grateful for the overwhelming support of all the stakeholders in Northern Mindanao, in Cagayan de Oro in particular. May you continue to support your Philippine Army, let us continue working hand-in-hand towards the establishment of durable peace and sustainable development, and the creation of empowered and conflict- resilient communities. I can assure you that your soldiers from the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division, Philippine Army will continue to faithfully pursue its mandate in serving the people, securing the land in CARAGA and Northern Mindanao.” Gacal concluded.