Fri. Sep 17th, 2021

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – The officers and personnel of the 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB) of the Army welcomed Sunday their new commander, Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo.

Paulo took the leadership of the 23rd IB from Lt. Col. Francisco L. Molina Jr. in a turnover ceremony Sunday at the Battalion’s headquarters in Barangay Alubijid, Buenavista town.

The ceremony was led by Maj. Gen. Andres C. Centeno, commander of the 4th Infantry Division (4ID) of the Army.

After two years of a stint as commander of 23IB, Molina will assume a new post at the 4ID headquarters in Cagayan de Oro City.

In his message, Molina expressed gratitude to the support given by the officers and personnel of 23IB and asked them to extend the same support to their new commander.

Under his command, the 23IB carried out successful military operations against the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur and part of Misamis Oriental, particularly Gingoog City.

Among the notable accomplishment of the 23IB under the command of Molina include series of encounters that started on May 10, 2020 at the border of Agusan del Norte and Misamis Oriental that killed 15 NPA rebels and the recovery of firearms, landmines and subversive documents.

Ten cadavers of the 15 rebels killed were retrieved and buried in Gingoog City last May 13 while the rest of the cadavers were buried at the encounter site.

Paulo, on the other hand, accepted the challenge he will be facing ahead as the new commander of the 23IB.

In his message, Centeno ordered the new 23IB commander to engage the NPA rebels in the area and dismantle the remaining guerrilla fronts.

“Through the milestones in our peace and development campaigns, never compromise in pursuing the few remaining armed communist-terrorists until they give up their arms and peacefully surrender. But until that happens, hit the enemy hard, and always be on the attack,” Centeno said.

The turnover ceremony Sunday was also witnessed by 402nd Infantry Brigade commander Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine, Agusan del Norte Governor Dale B. Corvera, Agusan del Norte 2nd District Rep. Maria Angelica Amante-Matba and Butuan City Mayor Ronnie Vicente Lagnada. (PNA)

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