The Army’s 12th Infantry Battalion sports the slogan “Lick ‘Em” which refers to all those individuals and groups that are considered enemies of the Army or the government: the communist rebel group New People’s Army, bandits and criminals.
In Iloilo City last week, Maj. Gen. Marion Sison, the commander of the Army's 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division, exhorted the newly installed commanding officers of two infantry battalions—the 12th and the 82nd Infantry Battalion— and their soldiers to once and for all end the communist insurgency on Panay Island.
Sison directed the two infantry battalions thus:
"Lick the enemy, totally decimate and eradicate them, in coordination with the local government units, civil society organizations, the private, religious, and the business sectors, in order to establish just and lasting peace in Panay," Sison said.
Sison issued the order during change of command ceremonies for the 82nd (Bantay Laya) and the 12th (Lick 'Em) Infantry Battalions. The 82nd IB is now headed by Lt. Col. Jovert Pimentel while the 12th IB has a new commander, Lt. Col. Vicel Jan Garsuta. Pimentel and Garsuta are both battle-tested military officers with long and solid experience in counter-insurgency operations. I believe they are in a good position to implement the directive of Maj. Gen. Marion Sison.
What is significant in Sison’s exhortation of his officers is that he believes local authorities and the military’s partners are important in achieving peace and order on the whole of Panay island. He encouraged the soldiers to work closely with them as Panay is one of the remaining bastions of the Communist Party of the Philippines and their armed wing, the New People’s Army. Even the communist party’s political face, the National Democratic Front, is still strong on the island.
"We cannot accomplish this mission without the support and collaboration of our stakeholders and local chief executives serving as chairmen of the Local Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. It is crucial to coordinate, cooperate, and maintain open communication with our partners, as they play a vital role in helping us bring an end to the insurgency in Panay. It is essential to recognize that the resolution of this problem requires not only military action but also the effective implementation of NTF-ELCAC as the best solution,” Sison stressed.
He was referring here to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, a body created by former President Rodrigo Duterte and is being credited for its role in weakening the armed communist insurgency and preventing the NPA from returning to barangays and villages that have been freed from their evil influence.
Sison correctly noted that the “change of command ceremony marked a milestone for the Army officers in upholding commitment and dedication to the organization. Thus, the officers must maintain organizational dynamics and professional growth.”
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