Army honors "Partners for Peace" in Abra
by Maritess Benas
Licuan-Baay, Abra (31 October) -- The 33rd anniversary celebration of the 41st Infantry "Partner for Peace" Battalion of the Philippine Army based in Sitio Baquero, Nalbuan, Licuan-Baay was inspired by the theme: "Winning the Peace through Convergence."
The anniversary celebration was held last October 18. It was supposed to have been celebrated last Oct. 11, but was postponed due to the onslaught of typhoon "Pepeng".
During the celebration, the battalion headed by LTC Ignacio B. Madriaga gave recognition to their officers and men who have rendered exemplary services as well as their partners for peace in Abra.
The ten officers and men awarded were 1Lt. Robert Jake Orena, 1Lt. Eduard Sia-ed, 2Lt. Junmar Tutoy, Sgt. Teddy Andres, Cpl. Randy Menor, MSgt. Eduardo Jose, Cpl. Venus Aganon, Cpl. Antonio Reyes, Cpl. Jerwin Sotto, and Pcf. Arnold Binalay.
Leading the civilian honorees were Bishop Leopoldo C. Jaucian, SVD, DD, Congresswoman Cecilia M.S. Luna, and Governor Eustaquio P. Bersamin. They were given the "Kalasag Award", the highest award the battalion gives to their honorees.
Other groups and individuals were also given Plaque of Appreciation for their support to the Army's mission of carrying out peace and security in the province. They include Pura Sumangil of the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government, Ivy Joan Badajos of the Abra Students Federation for Peace, Fr. Renato Amasi of the Holy Cross Parish, and the DZPA-CMN, Philippine Information Agency, Department of Health, Philippine National Police, Provincial Health Office, Provincial Social Welfare and Development, the municipal mayors of San Juan and Licuan-Baay, and some barangay captains in Licuan-Baay, and other individual supporters.
In his message, Madriaga expressed his gratefulness for the support of all the people around them in pursuing their mission as he emphasized, "winning the peace is a collaborative action of everyone, and winning the peace is partnership with everyone."
Madriaga further expounded his hopes that in the final analysis, the accomplishments of their convergent action will not be characterized by the traditional military victories indicated by the number of enemies killed or firearms captured, rather the victories as partners and stakeholders in Abra will be in terms of productive lives restored instead of lives taken; in the number of conflicts resolved instead of hatred sown; in the number of families reunited instead of families disintegrated; in the number of communities linked instead of isolated; in the number of fists unclenched and joined in reconciliation; and in instilling the culture of peace in the mind of the youth that will someday change the complexion of Abra.
In closing, the battalion commander said, "these are the seeds that will bear the sweetest fruits and endure the longest. True and genuine peace, after all, is a product of unity, which is the result of understanding and tolerance, and not an aftermath of conflict."
Col. Eduardo Collado, the deputy commander of the 503rd Infantry Brigade served as the guest of honor and speaker of the event. (PIA-Abra) [top]