DAVAO ORIENTAL — Local officials and stakeholders are confident that Davao Oriental’s peace and security will be sustained under the leadership of the newly installed Commander of the 701st Kagitingan Brigade.
Col. Oliver Maquiling assumed his post as the new Brigade Commander as Outgoing Commander Brigadier General Krishnamurti Mortela relinquished his post in a change of command ceremony held on Tuesday at the 701st Brigade Headquarters in Sitio Magay, Don Martin Marundan, City of Mati, Davao Oriental.
7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Alfredo Rosario Jr., who presided over the ceremony from Nueva Ecija in Luzon via a video teleconference, shares the local officials’ confidence in the new leadership of Col. Maquiling while he expressed his hopes that the peace that has already been gained in Davao Oriental as well as in other areas covered by the Brigade will be sustained.
“Sana sa ilalim ng iyong pamumuno ay magpatuloy ang magandang performance ng 701 Brigade at higit pang madagdagan ang inyong mga stakeholders na syang magiging katuwang ninyo sa pagbibigay ng serbisyo at seguridad sa ating mamamayan. (I hope that under your leadership, the Brigade’s good performance will be sustained and that more stakeholders, who will become our partners in providing services and security to our people, will join our cause),” said Major General Rosario.
With several years of experience serving in various capacities in the Philippine Army, including being the 701st Brigade’s Deputy Commander for two years, Col. Maquiling was chosen to take on the huge responsibility of leading the 2,000-strong unit, which covers two battalions and eight other operational control units.
Aside from his reputable military experience, Col. Maquiling has an impressive academic background, including earning a Master’s Degree in International Affairs at the Trustees of Columbia University in New York, USA.
Sustaining Kagitingan’s Feats
Col. Maquiling, who is the 15th Commanding Officer of the 701st Brigade, vowed to continue what his predecessors have started in the effort of securing and sustaining the peace in the Brigade’s area of responsibility.
Citing his previous commanders who molded and inspired him to practice the value of being audacious, deliberate, and motivated — the attributes he believes are needed to become a successful army leader, Col. Maquiling vowed to employ these qualities in his leadership.
“With audacious, deliberate, and motivated men, Team 701 would render excellent service to the people of Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro, and the adjoining areas of Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur,” he said.
“We have already gained significant headway. Numerous Guerilla Fronts were dismantled, conflict-affected areas were cleared from communist influence, leading to numerous surrenders of guerilla fighters and the loss of errant terrorists who insist on fighting our vigilant troops. With these gains, I will be steering a campaign not only to sustain and protect what we have accomplished,” said Col. Maquiling.
“Along with previous commanders who made remarkable achievements that made Davao Oriental and all adjoining areas geared for peace, progress, and development, I will build from your gains and successes, sirs,” he added.
Meanwhile, Outgoing Commander Brigadier General Mortela, who will be taking over the commandership of the 702nd Infantry Brigade based in Camp Tito Abat in Manaoag, Pangasinan, received applause from top military and government officials for his accomplishments.
Under his command, the Brigade achieved many feats including the pursuit of its intensified military operations to decisively defeat the remnants of the Weakened Guerilla Front 18, North Front, South Front, and Former Guerilla Front 14.
“It is precisely because of his good leadership that he will now be transferred to Luzon,” said Major General Rosario. “I know that Brig. Gen. Mortela has made a very positive impact in Davao Oriental due to his strong and effective leadership, and his support of the Lumon community. For that, I commend you for bringing pride and honor to the 7th Infantry Division, and for the brigade’s good performance in its active support to the 10th Infantry Division which has operational control over the Kagitingan Brigade in Mindanao,” he added.
Brig. Gen. Mortela expressed his gratitude to the provincial and local government units headed by Governor Nelson Dayanghirang and other stakeholders who “worked side by side with the Brigade.”
“I don’t claim any accomplishment or credit in all the units I have been to. Kayo lahat ang gumawa ng trabaho kaya maayos nating naisagawa ang ating misyon. (You were the ones who did the job. That’s why we accomplished our mission),” said Brig. Gen. Mortela.
Col. Maquiling who hails from Cagayan de Oro is a member of the Philippine Military Academy’s Class “Sambisig” of 1991. Brig. Gen. Mortela, on the other hand, is a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Tanglaw Diwa” of 1992. By KLDeloso | Photos By Mark Alvite