Celso, Cortez laud Marines for job well done in Basilan PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 22 November 2010 10:56

Mayor Celso Lobregat and Commodore Orwen Cortez, acting commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao Command, joined hands yesterday in commending the First Marine Brigade and the Marine Battalion Landing Team 10 for their very well done job in keeping the peace, progress and development in Basilan Province.
“You have been in Basilan since July 2007 up to this month and I can tell you that whatever happens, whatever the peace and order situation in Basilan is, also affects the peace and order and security of Zamboanga City,” Mayor Lobregat told the Marine troops the send-off ceremony at the Naval Forces WM Command yesterday morning, as he also thanked them for the efforts and all the activities they have done to keep the peace in Basilan.
Since the Marines’ deployment in Basilan more than three years ago, Lobregat said, “I know that you have lost many men (and comrades) in trying to keep the peace and in fighting against the Abu Sayyaf, and we in Zamboanga City and the entire Mindanao are very appreciative of all your efforts and sacrifices.”
“You will now be deployed in Cotabato and I am sure the people of Cotabato will need your services, will need you to keep them safe, sound and secured,” he further told the Marines. “And I know you will do the same good job in Cotabato as you have done in Basilan,” he added.
For his part, Commodore Cortez declared that throughout the history of victories of the different Marine units, two important factors come out—the ability to inspire and lead, and the ability to effectively handle the command and control of the operating units.
“Although the tides of time may have changed,” Cortez said, “this fact remains and very relevant to the adversities our command is facing and will face in the days to come.”
He said the First Marine Brigade will augment the existing military forces in Central Mindanao, while the MBLT 10 will be augmenting the MBLT 4 in Tawi-Tawi as part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ thrust of upgrading the operation readiness in those parts of the country.
“Today, we are sending off one of our most valuable units in Western Mindanao to aid the AFP in its wide operations against the insurgent groups in Central Mindanao and in Tawi-Tawi. I have no doubt on the ability of our Marines. They have been tested in several battles during their more than three years deployment in Basilan and emerged victorious this time,” Cortez stressed.
According to him, the Marines have been instrumental in maintaining the peace, progress and development in Basilan. “They, therefore, are ready to fight as they also are very ready to engage the local government units and the civilian populace for the progress and development of their new area of responsibility; their new home.
“Men and women of the First Marine Brigade and MBLT 10, it is with confidence that I lay my trust on your ability to execute your duties and responsibilities with utmost precision and foresight. As you leave, leave all your worries aside. Let the command ensure that whatever you leave behind will be taken care of,” Cortez said, and told the Marines never forget that the AFP bestowed upon their shoulders the highest honor and the highest prestige in assigning them to Central Mindanao and Tawi-Tawi to perform a very delicate role.
“As you embark on your new duties, safeguard your welfare and well being; safeguard your camps, detachments and garrisons as you would do to your families, and safeguard the peace and freedom from threats,” Cortez told the Marines in formation amid the early morning drizzles.
Also present during the send-off ceremony were Maj. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps, Gen. Eugenio Clemen, deputy commandant, other officers, men and women of the Naval Forces WM Command, the Jaycees and dependents of the Marines headed by brigade commander Col. Alex Balutan. -- Vic Larato