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New Year's Message of LTGEN Rozzano D Briguez AFP

 

According to Mother Teresa, “Peace begins with a smile”.  My dear WESCOM family, we are the peacekeepers of this nation, particularly in this very strategic Province of Palawan. So let us begin this year with a smile. May i humbly request everyone to wear their best smile from hereon.

 

As peace-builders ourselves, peace must start from us. Let us smile for ourselves for a job well done last year. Smile because we are here today, still in good shape as another year was added in our lives. Smile because we were given another chance to become the better version of ourselves.

 

Smile because we still have each other – our family and friends, the familiarity that gives us comfort and valued feeling. Smile because we are ready to embrace the challenges and triumph over any obstacles in 2018.

 

Lastly, smile, simply because it does not only make us feel good inside, but also make others mimic us  and smile back to the world.

   

Many remarkable things last 2017 left philippine history with the afp as its central character.  Most significant of this is our gallant Marawi heroes who liberated Marawi from the attempt of Maute-ISIS terrorists to sow fear and chaos in our country. Our soldiers who lay down their lives fighting for our freedom became the noblest expression of the filipino soldiers’ patriotism and vocation to our sworn duty.

 

The AFP also successfully implemented martial law in mindanao which is amenably received by our countrymen. The feedback from the people in Mindanao speaks of order and willingness, consenting to martial  law, that indeed the AFP has already established a trustworthy image apart from what has become of previous Martial  Law declaration in the 70’s.

 

The afp also achieved huge gains in keeping insurgency from increasing as more than 700 former NPAs acceded to the government. These rebel returnees can now enjoy a renewed life under the enhanced comprehensive local integration program jointly implemented by DILG, provincial DSWD, AFP and PNP.

 

By the start of 2018, the immediate rise of NPA surrenderees in Palawan shows the diligence of WESCOM in maintaining peace and stability in our joint area of operations. When i was invited last week by Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron in the CLIP awarding to seven former NPA rebels, I was assured of the local government’s undivided support to WESCOM in realizing our vision of a peaceful and sustainably developing Palawan.

 

And just before 2017 ended, our Command extended a multitude of efforts, and is still performing up until today, disaster relief and recovery operations brought by the devastation of Typhoon Vinta, particularly in South Mangsee, Balabac. Our navy vessels are still hauling relief goods and recovery personnel composed of medical and local DSWD to the far-flung island. The immediate response of WESCOM right after the eye of the storm hit the island last December 23 was an ultimate gesture that wescom will never wane in its mandate to serve the Palaweňos.

 

Lastly, our efforts in territorial defense permitted our government to have a clear perspective and decision making on how to resolve issues in the West Philippine Sea. They are assisted by the right information that WESCOM has provided in our regular intelligence reports.

  

We may still have post-holiday hangover but i know that setting our compasses at the start of journey will precisely lead us to our vision, preparing the way and ourselves for 2018.

 

At the start of the year, we should all be geared up against all security threats in our porous areas of operation. Insurgency is still predominant as the risk of retaliation against us is imminent after we have captured four large NPA camps last year prompting them to loose their advantage. We have to escalate our efforts in combatting insurgency especially now as the government proclaimed them to be terrorists lacking credibility of ideologies.

 

As the summer season looms in, the influx of tourists in Palawan will also pose a challenge for us to be wary of kidnapping operations. The united states and united kingdom did not remove their issued travel advisory to Palawan since early last year. Canada also issued this month a high degree of caution asking their citizens to avoid all travel to Southern Palawan.

 

Though we have successfully pre-empted any terrorist efforts or any kidnap for ransom incidents in the province last year, we cannot afford to be outwitted by our enemies, we cannot allow any single act of it to happen. So I enjoin everyone to regain strength and make substantive efforts of being extra vigilant, help the LGU reclaim the strength of the tourism industry and harbor the determination to sustain the peace and development in our area of operations.

 

Lastly, embrace your role as the vanguard of the Kalayaan Island Group. It is only by doing so that we all become truly involved with the dynamics and inner workings of our unit. WESCOM will only remain to be as an effective as its personnel who all labor hard for its accomplishment. 

 

I would like to end my message with Pope Francis’ New Year’s message which reminds us that there are really no failures but only a positive mindset that should dictate the difference. Pope Francis’ said, and I quote “remember that to be happy is not to have a sky without a storm, a road without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments. To be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the stage of fear, love in discord. It is not only to enjoy the smile, but also to reflect on the sadness. It is not only to celebrate the successes, but to learn lessons from the failures. You will find that to be happy is not to have a perfect life. But use the tears to irrigate tolerance. Use your losses to train patience. Use your mistakes to sculptor serenity. Use pain to plaster pleasure. Use obstacles to open windows of intelligence. Never give up on happiness, for life is an incredible show.” Unquote.

 

Stay with me my WESCOM team, together, we can do it! May we all have a meaningful year this 2018. Happy new year and mabuhay ang Team WESCOM!

 

To God be all the glory.

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