The chief of staff, the highest official, of the country’s armed forces is a NegOrense. Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana visited recently his hometown, Zamboanguita in the southern part of Negros Oriental, as he was honored for his outstanding achievement.
The armed forces chief emphasized the importance of having a strong sense of patriotism and nationalism to achieve sustainable peace.
“I believe the only way that we can achieve long and lasting peace in our country is to enhance the sense of patriotism and nationalism among our people. We must learn how to love our country,” said Sobejana in his message to fellow residents of Zamboanguita during the awarding ceremony.
“When I assumed command as the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), that was one of my guidance to adopt that battle cry: love of country,” he added.
Sobejana also underscored that the public should strive to be good citizens of the nation by giving quality service to the country and by giving their best in all their endeavors.
“Ang dapat manatili sa ating sarili ay iyong sense of service (We should always promote a sense of service within ourselves),” he emphasized.
The municipal government of Zamboanguita led by Mayor Glenson Alanano initiated the honoring ceremony for the town’s “outstanding son.” Alanano awarded a plaque of commendation to Sobejana in recognition of his achievement of being the top general of the country’s armed forces which brought pride to the municipality.
Present during the ceremony was Sobejana’s mother, Eustaquia Elola Arado.
Sobejana, in thanking the municipal government for the welcome and the honor, said he is proud to be from Zambonguita and he always carries this identity wherever he goes.
He also told the youth not to be discouraged from the hardships they experience as he, too, had been through the same struggles. He noted that it is important to honor the Lord above all.
Alanano also lauded Sobejana for his accomplishments. “Nagpasalamat ko niya kay sa iya hard work, namunga ug ang lungsod sa Zamboanguita naila (I am very grateful. All his hard work has paid off and the municipality of Zamboanguita was recognized because of him),” Alanano enthused.
The local chief executive was asked if Sobejana made a commitment to improve or support peace and development initiatives in Zamboanguita.
“Iya sab gi-assure ang peace and order sa among lungsod. Sa tanan programs and projects mosuporta siya (He assured he will provide help in our peace and order situation. He also gave his support to all programs and projects implemented here),” Alanano said.
The municipality of Zamboanguita has two barangays, Mayabon and Calango, identified as priority areas for the government convergence efforts to address poverty under the Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict Program.
In relation to ELCAC, Sobejana said the AFP has crafted “catch-up plans” to speed up the government’s pursuit of peace and development in ELCAC areas.
“During my term as the chief of staff, my first instruction is to think of something that will make us win quickly with the short period of time. Kailangan may ‘catch-up’ plans tayo (we must have catch-up plans). We have that already and we are now starting to implement it across the country to include Negros Oriental,” Sobejana explained.
He is optimistic that the country will be able to achieve its goal of attaining sustainable peace because it has dedicated personnel in the military and all mechanisms are also set in place, like President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70, which directs a “whole of nation” approach to end local communist insurgency. – NWI