General Sobejana leads last command conference as AFP Chief of Staff

The Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Cirilito Sobejana presided over his final Command Conference Wednesday, July 7, where he gave his guidance to the military moving forward.

“The AFP gained substantial accomplishments for the past months. Despite this, we must endeavour to continue our momentum to achieve more meaningful milestones,” General Sobejana said.

“The remaining months this year shall be our final push to decisively defeat the local terrorist and communist terrorist groups,” General Sobejana added, stressing the need for the AFP to shift its focus and efforts to external defense.

The Command Conference, attended by top defense officials including Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and senior military officers, opened with a “Salute to the Fallen” in honor of soldiers who died in line of duty this year.

General Sobejana also called for a moment of silence and prayer for those killed in and survivors of the recent C-130 mishap.

Meanwhile, AFP ground units reported a total of 213 AFP-led military operations against the communist terrorist group (CTG) during the first semester.

This resulted to the neutralization of 80 high-value individuals as well as four finance officers of the CTG in the first semester of 2021.

A total of 372 CTGs were also neutralized, of which 42 were killed, 53 were apprehended or captured, and 277 have surrendered. Some 728 supporters have also withdrawn their support.

In addition, 730 assorted firearms and 140 anti-personnel mines were also seized.

For this, the AFP conferred ground units with the Battle Streamer in recognition of their role in destroying regional CTG units in their respective areas of responsibility.

The Battle Streamer is awarded to infantry brigades, battalions and their equivalent in the Navy and Air Force that were directly involved in all efforts to clear focus areas and engage the armed components of the CTG that eventually led to the total disruption of these armed groups and decimation of guerilla fronts.

For their accomplishments, the 801st Infantry Brigade and 63rd Infantry Battalion in the dismantling of a notorious CTG unit in Visayas.

They were supported by the 8th Intelligence Service Unit; 8th Military Intelligence Battalion; Military Intelligence Group 8; 8th CMO Battalion; Naval Intelligence Service Group Central; 3012th Air Intelligence Security Squadron

The 402nd Brigade and 23rd Infantry Battalion, supported by the 4th Military Intelligence Battalion (MIB); Tactical Operations Group (TOG) 10; 42nd Division Reconnaissance Company was also awarded for dismantling a guerilla front in north-central Mindanao.

Lastly, the 701st Brigade and 66th Infantry Battalion (IB), supported by the 28IB, 67IB, 104th Division Reconnaissance Company, 2nd Field Artillery Battalion, 10th MIB, 11th Intelligence Service Unit, 10th CMO Battalion, Tactical Operations Group 11 for dismantling a guerilla front in southern Mindanao.

On the other hand, AFP operations against local terrorist groups also yielded significant gains from January to June.

This includes the 114 Abu Sayyaf Group members; 124 Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters; and 40 Dawlah Islamiyah who were all either killed, captured, or have surrendered.

In response, Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana also gave his guidance as he congratulated the AFP for its accomplishments and thanked the military for its support in the administration’s peace and development programs.

He also urged the AFP to further enhance organizational efficiency and operational excellence and called for improved readiness to perform multi-role functions, while ensuring the sustained physical and emotional well-being of personnel.

“Continue to exercise prudence and accountability in our resource programming,” Secretary Lorenzana added, emphasizing the need to implement financial and management best practices.

“The AFP has and will continue to play a vital role in protecting the interest of our country and our people. With this let us continue to remain steadfast towards our unwavering commitment to our sworn duty, maintain our pursuit for excellence, and continuously endeavour quality service in all our undertaking,” General Sobejana assured.