MANILA -- The Philippine Army (PA) formally activated the 11th Infantry "Alakdan" Division during formal ceremonies presided by President Rodrigo R. Duterte at the covered court of the Kuta Heneral Teofilo Bautista, Barangay Busbus in Jolo, Sulu Monday.

PA commanding general Lt. Gen. Macairog S. Alberto was also present in the activation ceremonies, Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Louie Villanueva said in statement Wednesday.

The 11th Infantry Division was provisionally activated last Dec. 1.

The President officiated the symbolic unfurling of the unit colors, the Army’s traditional way of recognizing the birth of a new unit and commencement of its given mission.

The event was also highlighted by the assumption of Brig. Gen. Divino Rey C. Pabayo as the commander of the new division.

The 11th Infantry Division will be comprised of basic maneuver elements, combat support and service support components.

"The creation of another Army division aims to strengthen the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) current troop deployment in Sulu as well as to have a permanent presence and dedicated force that will address the peace and order problem in the area," Villanueva added.

The activation of the 11th Infantry Division aims to address the security threats posed by the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu and nearby areas known to be bulwarks of the terror group.

While the AFP has been relentless in curbing the problem and significantly attained numerous tactical victories, the lawless elements remained resilient due to the evolving traits of terrorism, which became global in nature.

In his message, Alberto told officers and enlisted personnel of the new unit that "your distinct gallantry and heroism in the fight against terrorism and insurgency was already ingrained in the hearts and minds of every Filipinos."

"As we intensify our effort to finally address the security concern in this corner of our country, I assure everyone that the Philippine Army is in better position now to provide the necessary combat essential tools so that you could better accomplish your task. Amidst complexities, I guarantee the 'Sulu-anon' that the 11ID composed of professional soldiers will do their very best to bring normalcy and tranquillity in the area,” he added. (PNA)